FOR some time now, oil marketers have been saying that the current N145 per litre which fuel goes for in the country is not profitable, and an adjustment might be needed. This came to a crescendo when some top officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) also came out to admit that due to the increasing value of the dollar, then the price of a litre of fuel might increase. One thing I want to tell those who are in this school of thought is that they shouldn’t test the patience of Nigerians. Already, things are so tough for our people that increasing the price of fuel will finally drive millions of families that are still struggling to survive in this tough economic period into abject poverty.
Instead of clamouring for the increase in the price of fuel, what these NNPC bosses should be after is how to make our refineries work. I will partly blame the NNPC for the failure of our refineries to work over the years since these refineries are being supervised by the nation’s oil company. It is not a secret that those who were benefiting from the subsidy claims were the ones who ensured that our refineries did not work at optimum capacities. They knew that if all our refineries were working well, then there would be no reason for them to be importing fuel, and subsequently, no reason to be claiming subsidy funds.
So, those who are in charge of the country’s oil economy should look at other ways through which we can produce the fuel we consume locally, instead of agitating for an increase in its price. Oil and food importation are the two commodities straining our local currency against foreign currencies. Consequently, if we can refine our oil and produce our food locally, then the strain on the naira will be minimal.
I, therefore, hope that the Federal Government will look at the pain Nigerians are currently going through and not accede to the request of these energy chiefs to increase the pump price of fuel.
- Femi Adeyinka,