IT was reported last week that some top officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were saying the current N145 per litre of fuel is not in tune with the present economic reality. What these officials were insinuating was the need for the Federal Government to jerk up the price of fuel in order to make the oil sector more competitive.
I am happy that the Federal Government has come out to inform Nigerians that it has no plan to increase the price of fuel, but I want the government to stick to this position. Increasing the price of fuel at this period in time will further plunge more Nigerians into abject poverty. Already, many Nigerians are finding it difficult to survive as a result of the economy that has gone into recession.
When President Muhammadu Buhari removed the fuel subsidy earlier this year, the majority of Nigerians supported him, despite the fact that a faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) opposed the increment. Today, the competition in the oil sector has forced the price down to about N140 per litre. In fact, some filing stations are now selling for N139 per litre in order to attract customers.
It is, therefore, hoped that the funds being saved from the fuel subsidy will be utilised towards bringing Nigerians out of poverty. But one mistake that the Federal Government should not make at this point in time is succumbing to the outdated opinions of some energy chiefs, thereby increasing the fuel price. There is the limit to which Nigerians can absorb policies that will further reduce their economic powers and plunge them into hardship.
The prices of goods and services have gone up astronomically in the last one year, but incomes have not increased. Therefore, Nigerians are going through their worst economic situation in recent times, but because of the popularity of President Buhari, Nigerians are bearing with his government as he is not the cause of how the economy has degenerated to this extent. However, further putting a burden on Nigerians by increasing fuel price will not be accepted by the already over-burdened populace.
- Nicholas Uchendu,