The Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), have accused oil marketers of inflicting pains on Nigerians after President Bola Tinubu’s pronouncement of fuel subsidy removal at his inauguration.
The governors, under the aegis of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), stated this during a courtesy visit to President Tinubu at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Friday.
The Chairman of PGF and Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, condemned the price increase on what he described as “old stock” and called on Nigerians to rally behind the government’s decision to remove the subsidy.
While reiterating their support for the removal of subsidy on petrol, Uzodinma said the decision for fuel subsidy removal was reached by the immediate-past administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, under the National Economic Council (NEC), led by former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, when they came to the realisation that it was no longer possible to fund subsidy.
Asked what the states were going to do to ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians in the face of current realities, Uzordinma said: “There’ll be new economic realities and once a new policy comes, there’s usually this panic. For instance, from May 29 till today, I’m not aware that any petroleum marketer has imported any product. All the products in their storage facilities are those already imported, subsidized by government. Why the rush to increase the prices? It is man’s inhumanity to man.
“So, I think that what we should do is to be our brother’s keepers and learn how to save the firewood we got during the dry season, so we can use it during the rainy season.
“But I think also that as we work towards improving the economy of this country, with the intention of creating prosperity, government will be reasonable enough to look at the reality on ground and address them as appropriate. I have no doubt in my mind that the man who has raised his pump price from N300 plus to N500 plus is creating panic that there’ll be no product.”
The PGF chairman assured that the situation will be better when Dangote Refinery begins production next month.
Uzodimma said: “By next month, July, the Dangote Refinery will be on stream and it’s a very big refinery that will make products available. You are aware that the federal government awarded turnaround maintenance contracts for Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri Refineries, so if within the period, these refineries are working, products will be available and the market forces will come into play.
“So let us create competition in the market, there’s no how any reasonable mind will encourage monopoly anywhere in the world. Let the forces of the market determine prices, let demand and supply be at play. So those are the things I think we should do.
“For our workers, I know the President we have. You know he was the first person to increase salaries in Lagos, so he will not be insensitive to the time and experiences of federal civil servants, but we need to encourage investments, we need to allow business to boom, we need to stimulate economic activities in a manner that prosperity will be the name of the business.”