By Ndubuisi Michaels
Immediate-past Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has said the federal government must perish the idea of increasing the pump price of petrol from N145 per litre to N185 in March next year, saying: “Nigerians have suffered enough in the hands of the APC government and won’t accept any further upward review of petrol pump price.”
The former governor, who described the planned increment as a way of taking back of whatever that is added to workers salary as minimum wage increment, said; “They are delaying the increment till March because of its effects on the February 2019 elections.”
Media Aide to the former governor, Lere Olayinka, said in a statement on Monday that the NNPC presentation to the Senate last week that N145 fuel pump price was unrealistic and that the pump price of petrol was supposed to be N185 per litre as against the official price of N145 per litre was a way to prepare the minds of Nigerians for the planned increment.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru had told Senate Ad-hoc Committee set up to investigate allegation that the Corporation created a fund to finance fuel subsidy without appropriation by the National Assembly that the NNPC set aside $1.05 billion to augment the differential between the landing cost of imported fuel and the pump price of N145 per litre. He said landing cost of petrol was N185 per litre, pointing out that the N40 gap was being filled with the $1.05 billion Support Fund.
Reacting, Fayose, who said the NNPC must explain to Nigerians where it derived powers to spend $1.05 billion (over N350 billion) from crude oil sales to subsidise petrol, noted that it was unexplainable for any agency of the federal government to spend revenue belonging to the entire country without first remitting the fund into the federation account.
The former governor said it was uncharitable for anyone to draw comparison between the pump price of petrol in West African countries with that of Nigeria without considering cost of living in those countries and whether or not they are oil producing like Nigeria.
He said “smuggling is an outdated excuse for increasing petrol pump price, it will no longer be accepted by Nigerians.
“Nigerians are suffering. Millions of jobs have been lost and even many of those still employed are not gainfully employed. The federal government must not add to the burden of the suffering masses by increasing the pump price of petrol as being planned.”