A social-political organisation, Coalition for a Better Nigeria has called for understanding from Nigerians over the recent fuel price hike and increased electricity.
The group in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Awa Bamiji, said: “since the discovery of fuel subsidy frauds, we the civil society members are the advocates of fuel subsidy removal because we believe that it is the only way to block the financial leakages.”
According to the statement, “It is a general belief that the regular supply of electricity will rebuild our economy for the benefits of all Nigerians.
“The Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), last Wednesday announced a new depot price of N151.56k for PMS against the N138.62k announced in August, and this has led to an increment in the pump price to between N160 and N163 in filling Stations across the states.
“Unfortunately, this and electricity tariff hike by the Nigeria Electric Regulatory Commission (NERC) are coming at a time when people are struggling with economic difficulties created within the context of the COVID-19 economy, and the federal government appears resolute.”
It added: “According to the government, the alternative is unstable supply of electricity and long queues at various filling stations, with a litre selling at exorbitant prices.
“We are now into full deregulation where the market will determine prices and this will prevent the return of subsidies and operators will recover their costs.
“In the long run, it will encourage investments and job creation.
“Regardless of the economic effects of COVID-19, Nigeria spent N1 trillion on fuel subsidy this year alone. Between 2006 and 2018, N10.63 trillion was the total subsidy paid by the Federal Government.
“The Country has 60 per cent less revenue and can no longer afford subsidy. There is no provision for it in the 2020 revised budget, so subsidy must go to allow reasonable appropriation to the key sectors like education, health and infrastructure.
“The price will go up and down, depending on the international market forces and this will discourage smuggling of the products.
“Already there are indications of more investments in refining in Nigeria which will moderate the cost. Fierce competition will also moderate the price.
“It is really a tough decision which was taken at the beginning of the year before the coronavirus pandemic, but due to the sensitivity of the government, its implementation had to be delayed till this point because of the attendant grave consequences of the pandemic.
“The irregular supply of electricity is like a cause in Nigeria, which we have all been praying against for years and waiting for its historic end. As civil Society organisations, we must seize the opportunity of increment in prices to negotiate a better deal with the suppliers and Federal Government.
“The government should think beyond frequent price hike and come up with a long term development programme to salvage the country’s battered economy.
“We raise our voice in concert with the prominent groups and individuals in the country to condemn the National Water Resources Bill that seeks to bring all water sources (surface and underground) as well as river banks under the federal government because it is illegal and anti- federalism.”