THE Federal Government has no plan to increase fuel price, despite the dwindling fortune of the naira, government officials said yesterday, September 5.
Ibe Kachikwu, minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Maikanti Baru, group managing director, GMD, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, at different occasions tried to douse the tension building up following the recommendation of former NNPC;s GMCs at the weekend that the current price is unsustainable and therefore, asked for increase in pump price.
Baru and the ex-NNPC GMDs, after what was tagged a strategic meeting on sustenance of availability of fuel amid the forex crisis, said the N145 petrol pump price cap should have to be lifted to avoid acute scarcity.
The group noted that allowing the pump price to remain at that peg might lead to a crisis, including a resurgence of huge subsidy which could cripple the economy further.
Kachikwu and Baru spoke separately with reporters at the State House after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Baru, who was the first to come out of the meeting, said “there is nothing like that.”
Kachikwu, who came out about 15 minutes later directed reporters to speak with Baru and when told that Baru had declined comments said there was no memo before the Federal Government asking for a review of the price.
As recent as last month, oil marketers pushed for the lifting of the N145 petrol price cap because of the scarcity of foreign exchange to finance import.
Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, also yesterday condemned Baru and his predecessors in office over their call for further increase in the pump price of petroleum products.
Abdullahi cautioned the Federal Government against acceding to the call, especially when Nigerians are groaning under severe economic hardship. The senators described the oil chiefs as “enemies of Nigerians and the government.”
The Federal Government on May 11 began the liberalisation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry when petrol price increased from N86 and N86.5 per litre to a N145 cap. Importation of products was liberalised. The policy effectively ended the long queues. Some marketers sell the product below N140 per litre.
— Sep 6, 2016 @ 16:10 GMT