Back to the ring: PDP, APC trade words over price hike

Back to the ring: PDP, APC trade words over price hike

Thursday, September 3, 2020 11:33 am


Richard Elesho/ Lokoja

It is an affinity of mutual distrust. Characteristic of their cat and rat relationship, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP have resumed hostility over recent increase in the cost of some social services in the country.

The Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC had in a memo on Wednesday 2nd September by D.O Abalaka announced adjustment in the price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS popularly known as petrol.

According to the statement; “Please be informed that a new product price adjustment has been effected on our payment platform. To this end, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is now one hundred and fifty-one naira, fifty-six kobo (N151.56k) per litre.

The directive took immediate effect. The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN consequently directed its members to sell the product at N162.00 per litre.

The same day it became public knowledge that electricity Distribution Companies DISCOS have began the implementation of a Service Reflective Tariff, SRT plan, twenty four hours before. The plan implies more than 100 percent increase in the cost of electricity in the country.

Under the new regime according to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, consumers will now pay N66 per kilowatt unit of energy consumed in an hour, kwh. Until the recent increase, consumers were paying N30.23 kwh.

As news about the increases broke, many Nigerians began to condemn it as an unsavoury development, while President Muhammodu Buhari’s supporters hailed it as good economic wizardry. Both groups have been firing from all salvos on the matter.

Leading the critics is the PDP. The party, in a statement issued Tuesday by it’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said the policy was callous, wicked and aimed at punishing Nigerians.

“The party demands an immediate reversal of the prices to avert a national crisis, as the increase will result in upsurge in costs of goods and services and worsen the biting hardship being faced by Nigerians, who are already impoverished and overburdened by APC-imposed high cost of living in the last five years.

The party asserted that by increasing the price of fuel from the N87 per litre it sold under the PDP to an excruciating N151 while at the same time allowing the hike in electricity tariff from N30.23 per kwh to over N66, the APC has left no one in doubt that its agenda is to inflict pain and hardship on Nigerians to satisfy their selfish interests.

The party furthef noted that the unjustifiable increase in the price of these essential supplies, coming barely a week after the APC brazenly posted a support for fuel price hike, while attempting to rationalize the excruciating hardship being suffered by Nigerians under the Buhari administration, has further confirmed that the APC is at the center of the harsh policies of the Buhari Presidency.

“It is distressing that the APC administration increased the cost of essential commodities at the time the leadership of other countries are offering palliatives to their citizens to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is instructive to add that our nation is doomed under the APC watch.

*We know that the APC is an unfeeling party but it is indeed shocking that it could go to the extent of approving such a hike at this trying time, when many Nigerians are struggling to afford staple foods and other necessities of life.

“Our party challenges the APC and the Buhari administration to publish the parameters with which it arrived at the increase of fuel price to N151 per liter given that with the prevailing values in the international market, the appropriate price template for domestic pump price in Nigeria ought not to be above N100 per liter.

“Our party further challenges the APC-led Federal Government to publish details of its sleazy and over-bloated oil subsidy regime, including the involvement of APC interests in the claimed under-recovery for unnamed West African countries, running into trillions of naira, while Nigerians are made to bear the burden of high fuel costs.

“Moreover, the APC and its government have failed to allow an open investigation into allegations of fuel price overcharge as well as the fraudulent subsidy regime through which over N14 trillion had allegedly been frittered by unscrupulous individuals in the APC.

“Our fear is that the APC is pushing Nigerians to the wall with its obnoxious and anti-people proclivities and we caution that nobody should misinterpret the peaceful and law-abiding nature of Nigerians as a sign of weakness.

The APC did not take the allegations of graft frim the opposition kindly. The party rose in defence of the new increase in pump price of petrol and electricity tariff noting that it was in the best interest of citizens.

Mr Yekini Nabena, the party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary in reaction to criticisms on the issue made the call in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

“The attention of the APC has been drawn to a shameless statement by PDP on the current petrol price and electricity tariff in the country.

“The pricing template now reflects competitive and market-driven components which is supported by the citizenry.

He noted that the PDP had foisted a corrupt subsidy regime that enriched few individuals some of who are still in hiding abroad. He also said the APC was determined to continue to make fuel available to all Nigerians.

On electricity he said: “In an effort by this administration to put an end to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity, President Buhari recently directed a nationwide mass metering programme for electricity consumers in the country,

He said that the APC, however, did not expect the PDP to grasp the import of this landmark presidential directive. He explained that apart from improving electricity and service delivery, the directive was also aimed at protecting the poor and vulnerable Nigerians from increased electricity tariff, arbitrary and estimated billings.

“Commendably, the Federal Government is already working to ensure that Electricity Distribution Companies commit to increasing the number of hours of electricity supply every day and also improve on their quality of service,” Nabena said.

It is not unusual for the parties to be at loggerheads on political matters. Their current tirade over a public policy is not a daily affair. Who blinks first?

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