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Outcry as FG plots to increase fuel price

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The usual outcry by Nigerians on fuel hike, resurfaced on Tuesday when the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva alerted the public to get ready for another increment.

Sylva, who spoke at the launch of the Nigerian Upstream Cost Optimisation Programme in Abuja on Tuesday said, “Since we are optimising everything, NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) needs to also think about the optimisation of product cost because as we all know, oil prices are where they are today: $60.

“As desirable as this is, this has serious consequences as well on product prices. So we want to take the pleasure and we should as a country be ready to take the pain.

“Today, the NNPC is taking a big hit from this. We all know that there is no provision in the budget for subsidy. So, somewhere down the line, I believe that the NNPC cannot continue to take this blow. There is no way because there is no provision for it.

“As a country, let us take the benefits of the higher crude oil prices and I hope we will also be ready to take a little pain on the side of higher product prices.”

Recall that Nigerians have witnessed series of increments in the pump price of petrol in the past months, rising from N121.50–N123.50 per litre in June to N140.80-N143.80 in July, N148-N150 in August, N158-N162 in September and N163-N170 in November.

A car spare parts’ dealer in Zuba Market, (Name withheld) lamented the cost of living ravaging the average Nigerians, rising from hike in price of food items due to increased cost of production.

According to him, the cost of production is high because, “There is nothing we do these days without power; the money Nigerians spend on fuel a day, if saved, would help in alleviating the challenges.

“How can the government think of increasing fuel price at this moment when everyone is just trying to survive?”

Similarly, the State Coordinator, African Youth Union Commission (AYUC), Benue State Chapter, Mr Aguredam Keghter Moses, in an interview on Wednesday, said the planned increment is coming at the wrong time.

According to him: “At this point, when Nigeria is ranked among the poorest countries in the world with untold hardship, it shouldn’t be the time when fuel hike should be the order of the day.

“I clearly recall the campaign promises of this present administration, when they promised the Nigerian populace of 1 refinery each year till they leave office, now, that has become like building a castle in the air.

“The increase in pump price is totally uncalled-for and unacceptable as it may increase hardship on the general public”.

However, an oil marketer in Bwari Area council who preferred to remain anonymous, told our correspondent that the proposed increment was due to the current price of crude in the market.

“With the vaccine gradually rolling out and trillions of dollars in government stimulus in the pipeline, energy demand is showing signs of accelerating and that also affects sales here.

“The Federal Government claimed they have removed fuel subsidy, so Nigerians are going to pay according to the new crude oil price,” he stated.

Recall that the international oil benchmark, Brent Crude, on Tuesday, traded above $61 per barrel.

Brent had hit the $60 per barrel mark on Monday for the first in more than a year.

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