Subsidy Removal: Nigerians Groan Over High Fuel Price, Now Selling At N1000.00 In Other West And Central African Countries

eBy Suleiman Umaru and Latef Adegbite

 President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who may have won the heart of officials of the World Bank/International Monetary Organisation, IMF, including other Multi-lateral Financial Institutions over fuel subsidy removal and unification of the country’s multiple exchange rates which had defiled efforts by the former Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration to do so but seen in bad light by Nigerians.

It is not surprising why Tinubu, Lagos state born Nigerian President may have lost the confidence of Nigerians as the subsidy removal has hit hard on vulnerable Nigerians, traders and transporters  who are no longer finding it funny. This is because the price of the product has jumped from N190.00 per litre, inherited from the immediate past Buhari led government to between N600.00 and N700.00, in many states of the Federation.

Abdullahi Sule, governor of the North central state of Nasarawa , who had said that the Buhari’s Administration spent over $19 billion to repair the country’s moribund refineries Llocated in Onne, near PorthHarcourt, Capital of Rivers state, Warri and the north western geopolitical region  city of Kaduna with a total combined refining capacity of 425,000 b/d, may have hit the  nail on the head  when he said that the Nigeian government  could no longer control  the pump price of petrol because of the deregulation of the industry.

Hear him:  You cannot determine the price of a product you don’t have. The Nasarawa state governor who could not hide his feelings had said that   that Nigeria is importing the product at the world market where many things happen. He alluded to the fact that ‘’if  there is  some  kind of crisis  in the Middle East  and if the price  of a barrel of crude oil jumps to $ $200, the price of a litre of  petrol  will also jump,

He noted that between 1999 and 2000, when the price of a barrel of crude oil was $10, the price of a litre of petrol  came down as low as N100.00 per litre. Governor Sule may have prepared the mind of Nigerians to be ready for another increase in the pump price of petrol as the price of crude oil increases in the international oil market.

While the NNPC officials would be pleased for the price of crude rising in the international oil market, Nigerians groan under the pain of the subsidy removal in a country where minimum wage was as low as N30,000.00 per month and inflation has hit the sky roof of 27 percent.

A senior Customs officer, who spoke to The Value News on phone had compared what the situation is under the Tinubu’s Administration, barely two months in office to the eight years Administration of the former Katsina state born Nigerian President. He had said that he N9,000.00 to  fill his vehicle tank  in May, 2023, during the Buhari’s Administration but spent   N27,000.00 in June 2023, no sooner the former Lagos state governor mounted the saddles as the President of Nigeria and took the two bold economic policies of removing fuel subsidy and unified the country’s multiple foreign exchange rates which was applauded in world/IMF ,circleso to fill his thank. 

He has made his monthly budgetary provision to fill his vehicle tank that could serve him on a weekly basis when NNPCL  suddenly announced a new price of the product , which made mockery of the monthly provision.  The senior Customs officer saw himself now spending N433,000.00 to fill hill vehicle tank , in a country where the minimum wage is N30,00.00 and price of goods and services are rising phenomenally on a daily basis.

While Nigerians cry over the increasing price of the pump price of petrol, Governor Sule, who had said that  crude oil prices in the international oil market would continue to dictate  the pump  price of petroleum products: petrol, Automotive Gas Oil, popular, diesel, Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK, and Aviation fuel, sold in Nigeria, in the months ahead, he had said that in the country is even much better than what is happening in some West and Central African countries  where the product  sells for over  N1,000.00 per litre.  

 He may have   alluded to Benin Republic, Niger, Tchad and the Central African country of Cameroum. May believe that a litre of petrol could sell as much as overN1,000.00 in the neighbouring West African countries and Cameroun because the VIP , petrol smugglers, across the nation’s porous borders no longer consider it profitable to engage in the nefarious with the tight security mounted by the Customs interventionists unit personnel across the country, particular’ the Federal Operations unit, FOU, who are everywhere across the country.

Adeniyi: Acting CG Customs

T Wale Adeniyi, acting Comptroller General , Nigerian Customs Services, NCS, during a recent visit to the Villa, was said to have to have told Tinubu   that  as part of efforts  to further enhance  the nation’s border security and regional integration , to forestall the activities of smugglers, he plans to visit his Beninois Counterpart, to engage in discussions  with their Customs Administration. 

He had said that the aim  of the visit is ‘’to foster collaboration  , address border security concerns , facilitate trade across the border and explore  technological solutions  to complex border challenges.At a recent visit to the Seme/Krake joint Border community between Nigeria and Benin Republic , the Customs Comptroller General had told residents of the Border Community that opening the Borders fully for free movement of goods and services depend on the readiness of the residents to Cooperate with the Customs and other security agencies personnel in combating security and smuggling of Contraband in and out of the country.

He was said to have made the people to understand that both the Customs and the security agencies operatives need intelligence from the residents of the Border Communities on the nefarious activities of the smugglers , and to properly protect the border areas against smuggling of foreign rice, vehicles and other prohibited itemsinto Nigeria from the neighbouring countries or smuggling of petrol from Nigeria to these countries.

Given that the subsidy removal expected to bring the product sales at par with what obtains in the neighbouring countries is hitting hard on the alleged poor Nigerians may informed have why Tinubu’s government has concluded plans o to implement some of the populism programmes put in place by the former Buhari’s Administration in the eventual removal of the subsidy  to mitigate the hardship.

The former Administration had secured a World Bank grant of $8,000 million to disburse to about 10 million households, equivalent to about 10 million Nigerians and who going by the then President’s Buhari and the National Economic Council, NEC’s calculations belong to the most vulnerable category of the country.

The former Nigerian President may not have removed the fuel subsidy because the February 25, 2023, Presidential and National Assembly elections was just around the corner but had left it for his predecessor, Tinubu to disburse the funds to the poor Nigerians on a monthly basis of N8,000.00 each. He had secured Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state led Senate to transfer  N8,000.00 per month  to 60 million households, with a multiplier effect of  12 million individuals.

The Tinubu’s Administration was said to be initially working on the list of the 10 million households across the country,that was said to have been handed over to him by the Buhari’s Administration for implementation.

Governor Sule had said that the N8,000.00 may not be  too much money  to some people but  is a lot  to so many other people  who are really from very poor families  that don’t see N8,000.00 every month. He may have had his reservation with the Buhari’s list as he has said that the only thing the present government  need  to do is ‘’to identify  those families before making the transfers  to ghost  households would claim much of the money for the six months  it was meant to be paid to the beneficiaries.

He had said that in home state , Nasarawa, the government  is sharing  N5,000.00  every month to poor households, noting that there were some communities   in the state also  that were able  to do  some  kind of contributions  and are  able  to do  a lot  in their various communities.

It was not surprising why he had said that N8,000.00 monthly stipend for 12 million Nigerians in the  next six months from the $8,00 million  World Bank facility would go a long way  to solving the problems  of many poor  families  in the country.

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