Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, joined the nation’s Labour movement and other stakeholders to berate the Federal Government over Wednesday’s increase in the pump price of premium motor spirit ‘.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the increment as punishment on the citizens given the prevailing economic situation in the country.
The opposition party noted that the increase despite the decline price of crude oil in the international market, was unjustifiable and exposes the insincerity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) APC and the Federal Government, which it controls.
It further stated that by increasing the price of fuel at a time Nigerians are confronted with economic and social trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has shown a total lack of human feelings to the plights of our citizens.
“Our party challenges the APC-led Federal Government to present to Nigerians, the indices and parameters it used to determine the price increase, which obviously cannot be in tandem with the prevalent situation in the global industry.
The actions of the APC administration have continued to confirm that the party has never been pro-poor but only relishes in imposing hardship and heavy taxes on already impoverished Nigerians, while running an over-bloated government through which resources meant for the welfare of Nigerians are frittered by corrupt officials and the cabal in the Presidency.
“Under the APC, Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardship, which is worsened by excruciating taxes, including a 7.5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on essential commodities and services, increased electricity tariff, obnoxious Stamp Duty and other levies on bank transactions.
“It is shocking that the APC government has continued to impose more burdens that have made life unbearable to our citizens, many of whom have lost their means of livelihood due to the misrule of the APC.
Only yesterday, President Buhari told the world that the number of poor people will triple following the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic; yet his administration, which has turned our nation into the poverty capital of the world, instead of seeking ways to stimulate the economy, is worsening the situation with an increase in fuel price.
What Nigerians expect of the Buhari Presidency at this critical time is to save resources by immediately cutting the size of its over-bloated government, recover the over N14 trillion oil money stolen under its watch and channel the funds towards the wellbeing of Nigerians.
“Our party therefore charges the APC and its administration to immediately reverse the pump price of fuel to a price not exceeding N90 per liter, given the prevailing templates in the price of crude oil in the international market,” the PDP stated.
The PDP reaction came as organized Labour rejected against the new pump price of Premium Motor Spirit raised from N121 to N143.80 per litre by the Federal Government, calling for its reversal with immediate effect.
At separate events to protest the hike both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) said they received news of the increase with rude shock and vowed to resist a policy they said was inhuman.
Their reaction came as marketers began implementation of the new pump price less than 24-hours after the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) announced a new price regime of N140.80-N143.80 for the month of July in line with its monthly price band. A survey of filling stations across the Lagos metropolis showed that most marketers have already adjusted their pumps in compliance with the PPPRA directive.
Findings across filling stations run by independent and major marketers revealed a swift reversal to the highest bank of N143.80 price per litre, with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) owned retail outlets selling at the lowest price of N140.80.
Motorists expressed surprise at the swiftness with which filling stations quickly complied with the order, saying were it to be a downward review; the implementation could have taken longer than a week to reflect the new price.
But the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, said it was not out of place for marketers to be swift in adjusting their pump prices.
Oyebanji said the more marketers delay, the more risk business risk they face because after selling their stock which they bought at the old rate, they would need more resources to buy at the new price which is much higher.
In announcing the latest hike, the PPPRA said “Please recall the provision for the establishment of a monthly price band within which petroleum marketers are expected to sell PMS at the retail stations, based on the existing price regime.
After a review of the prevailing market fundamentals in the month of June and considering marketers’ realistic operating costs, as much as practicable, we wish to advise a new PMS pump price band of N140.80 – N143.80/litre for the month of July 2020.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the latest increase might just be the last straw that would break the camel’s back. “There is no way Nigerians would accept a situation where we are charged international rates for a product Nigeria is ranked sixth largest producer in the world. “We demand that the Federal Government revert to the old price of petroleum especially given the fact that price of crude oil in the international market has slightly increased from the previous price before the so-called downward review was announced two months ago,” he said.
Wabba said labour is also demanding that the nation’s four national petroleum refineries be fixed without any further delay, adding that Nigerian workers want to be appraised of the timeline set by government to ensure that this is effectively done.