PROPOSED HIKE IN PETROL PUMP PRICE TO N385: CALLOUS AND UNACCEPTABLE
Alone Opinion Desk
According to widely circulated reports, the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) on Wednesday 19th May, 2021, agreed to a recommendation that Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) should be fully deregulated and the pump price be increased to N385. With the socio-economic crisis rocking the nation, the proposed hike in petrol pump price to N385 is nothing short of inhuman gesture to worsen the plight of the already suffering Nigerian masses.
This is a callous, and pharaonic decision by the Governors. We reject this decision by the Governors, and we cannot allow selfish leaders inflict hardship on the masses. With the appalling and harsh economic realities, skyrocketing inflation rate and high unemployment, if the government go on with this hike, whatever is left of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s credibility would be completely damaged. While this recommendation is subject to approval by National Executive Council (NEC), the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration should be courageous to make decisions that would alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians, like the implementation of the current minimum wage in all states of the country and tackling of insecurity in order to bring down food inflation and ensure food security.
Instead of putting Nigerians further into hardship in these austere times with this purported hike, the government should explore other means of cutting costs and reducing wastes in government spending. For instance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recently got Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval for a whopping sum of N805.7 million to “beef up security” at the headquarters in Abuja, also, a leaked memo revealed that Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development approved N30 million for the construction of a mosque that is not a federal project, with taxpayers’ money. This is waste of scarce public funds, and this money could have been put to better use to impact positively on the lives of the citizens.
According to TheCable, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) disclosed in a letter to the Accountant General of the Federation, that its projected monthly remittance to the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) for the month of May will be Zero. It is not new that the NNPC has for a long period under remitted and even recorded zero remittance in the past few years. This means there has always been a shortfall which has adversely affected projected and distributable revenue.
The federal government for the umpteenth time should listen to the continuous call from well-meaning Nigerians to earnestly revamp the comatose refineries and augment that effort by building modular refineries to cater for domestic demands. It is criminal and self-sabotaging to keep importing fuel and then selling to Nigerians when we have the capacity to produce and refine it within the shores of the country. It is illogical to spend the country’s foreign exchange on the same product that earned it.
We call on organized labour in staying true to their historic commitment to fight for the masses, to promptly intervene on behalf of the masses, and rightly so to reject this anti-masses decision. They should pressure this government to reverse this proposed course, return to comprehensive and clear articulation of priorities to revive the economy and save the masses from the burden of insensitive ruling elites.