President Muhammadu Buhari closed the door on agitations for the reversal of the recent increase in price of petrol in his Independence Day broadcast to Nigerians on Thursday.
The President noted that in addition to public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, the government has suffered a significant drop in its foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues due to 40 per cent drop in oil prices and steep drop in economic activities, leading to a 60 per cent drop in government revenue.
He added that the government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in face of drastically reduced resources and sustaining sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible.
The government, since coming into office has recognized the economic argument for adjusting the price of petroleum. But the social argument about the knock-on effect of any adjustment weighed heavily with the government.
In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions. The President also noted that petrol is cheaper in Nigeria than in other countries, including Saudi Arabia.
“Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point; a. Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre b. Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346. c. In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre. 48. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia,” the President said.