- The National Executive Council proposed a list of soothing measures for Nigerians
- Among the list are cash transfer awards and six months transportation allowance for workers
- Also, the Nigerian government said it would expedite action on the energy transition plan, which means transiting from fossil fuels vehicles to CNG
On Thursday, July 20, 2023 the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) celebrated the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry with the importation of 27 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as petrol for local consumption by a local company.
The move was in contrast to the monopoly of the importation of the product into the country in the past few years by the National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
Labour unions, Nigerians fume over petrol price increase
"When we talk about deregulation, people just think about price increases. Actually, it is not; it is opening up the space for more participation," Bashir Sadiq, the Executive Director, of Corporate Services and Administration, NMDPRA said at a ceremony to mark the first importation of petrol into the country by a private operator.
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The marketer had taken advantage of the May 29, 2023 'subsidy is gone' declaration in the inauguration speech of President Bola Tinubu to import the 27 million litres of petrol said to cost $17 million into the country. But it is doubtful if most Nigerians will be bothered.
Nigerians were still grappling with the rising cost of living and transportation after the 'subsidy is gone' statement led to an increase in the price of petrol from an average of less than N200 to about N520 per litre when the NNPCL further jacked up prices at its outlets to N617 on Monday. Other marketers adjusted their costs with the product selling for N620 and N637 in parts of the country.
The initial increase after May 29 led to soaring cost of living, with many motorists being forced to abandon their vehicles due to inability to afford the cost of petrol. On the other hand, many commuters were forced to reduce their regularity of outings. Indeed, some state government reduced their workdays from five to two or three days a week as a relief for their employees.
According to a recent report by Phillips Consulting Limited, over 90 percent of Nigerians aged 18 have had to reduce their spending on essential and non-essential items due to the increased cost of living. The World Bank had also warned that many more Nigerians would become poor due to the hike in the price of petrol following the removal of fuel subsidy by the Tinubu administration.
Anger trails increase in petrol price
However, the increase in the price of petrol has further increased the agony of Nigerians. Nigerians were still waiting for the palliatives promised by the government when the latest increase in the price of the product happened.
Hence, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, described the increase as provocative and designed to worsen the poverty level and hardship Nigeria is passing through.
"We woke up this morning (Tuesday) to the news that NNPCL has increased the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from the hitherto draconian N500/litre to N617/litre. Joe Ajaero said.
"What the government has done is capable of pushing Nigerian people to the edge of the precipice and can trigger a raging fire that may overwhelm whatsoever mechanisms the government thinks it has put in place as safeguards," the NLC said.
Onanuga begs Nigerians for patience
A spokesperson of the defunct President Bola Tinubu's campaign, Bayo Onanuga, also foreclosed direct interventions to rein in the ballooning price of petrol in a post on his social media handle on Wednesday.
Rather, he urged Nigerians to be patient and desist from hurling attacks on the Tinubu-led administration in response to the fuel price hike, especially the promised palliatives.
“Small businesses will crumble completely”: Business operators lament hardship as fuel sells for N617/litre
The implication, especially with the declining value of the naira is that Nigerians may have to pay even higher prices for petrol in the days ahead.
NEC announces palliative measures
Meanwhile, the National Executive Council (NEC) on Thursday agreed on palliative measures to cushion the effects of fuel subsidies for Nigerians.
According to reports, the NEC meeting, attended by governors of the 36 states, the Director General of the Nigerian Governors' Forum, and stakeholders from the World Bank and other government agencies, agreed on cash transfers to Nigerians using the state social registers subject to state peculiarities.
Also, government officials were urged to reduce the cost of governance while the Federal Government will implement a six-month cash award policy for civil servants.
Also, food items, grains, and fertilizers are to be distributed by state governments at the rate acquired from National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
States are urged to initiate policies to tackle the cost of transportation.
Highlights of the NEC resolutions include:
- Negotiate a new minimum wage for workers.
- Each state should plan toward implementing a cash transfer programme based on the social register of the state.
- Cash Award Policy for public servants for 6 months.
- State Governments to pay public servants outstanding liabilities.
- Govt should begin to fund MSMEs with single-digit interest rates.
- Immediate implementation of the energy transition plan, which means transiting from fossil fuels vehicles to CNG.
Fuel Is now N617 per litre as NNPC increases pump price, Marketers give 3 reasons
Legit.ng reported that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has adjusted its pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol from N537/litre to N617/litre.
The adjustments were spotted in some filling stations Abuja on Tuesday, July 17, 2023, and it is expected the new prices will be implemented across the country.
Punch reports that the decision by NNPCL to adjust its prices is an indication of a rise in the pump price of PMS.