The presidency has again defended the recent increase in the pump price of petrol.
The Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) had, in September 2020, increased the ex-depot price of petrol from N138.62 to N151.56 per litre.
The ex-depot price is the cost at which the product is sold to marketers.
Following the increase, petrol now sells as high as N162 in filling stations across the country.
While the hike in the price of petrol has generated widespread criticism, President Muhammadu Buhari had, in his October 1 address, said the increase is fair when compared to other oil-producing countries.
“It makes no sense for fuel to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia which sells at N168 per litre,” Buhari had said.
Defending the president’s statement, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, while speaking in an interview on Channels Television on Friday, said the increment was justified.
Shehu said not many Nigerians own cars and generating sets which requires them to purchase fuel, and as such, it would be unfair to ask such persons to contribute to subsidising the cost of fuel.
“In the case of oil, we have stopped subsidy in the interest of Nigerians; that we’re also joining the global market system, so, that Nigerians will be beneficiaries when global oil prices are down, but when they’re up, we also have to share in that,” he said.
“Therefore, it is important that we know what happens elsewhere. And it is not only Saudi Arabia that Mr. President cited. People say that Saudi Arabia has all these social support systems… talk about those neighbouring countries — Chad, Niger, Ghana — all of them producing oil. And they’re selling oil at twice as much as is being offered to Nigerians at this time. So, why can’t we also reflect on that?
“We belong to a global market system; we are buying most of our refined products from the international market. How many Nigerians have cars anyway? How many of them run generators in their homes that they need this fuel for? Is it fair that the farmer and the herder and all of these low-level people in our society, that taxpayer money is taken from them and be subsidising the lifestyle of our city urban dwellers? The president is just trying to be as practical on this matter as possible.”