President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the prices of petroleum products in Nigeria would be adjusted in line with current realities.
The president stated this in his 60th Independence Anniversary nationwide broadcast Thursday.
Buhari lamented that Nigeria has been hit by a severe foreign exchange earning slump and 60 per cent drop in government revenue.
This, he said, called for taking tough decisions.
The president said, “Fellow Nigerians, in addition to public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, we have suffered a significant drop in our 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.
“Our government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in face of drastically reduced resources.
“In this regard, 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.”
Buhari said that to counter the effect of the upward review of petroleum products prices, his government in the last three years introduced “unprecedented” measures in support of the economy and to the weakest members of the society in the shape of Tradermoni, Farmermoni, School Feeding Programme, Job creation efforts and Agricultural intervention programmes.
He added that no government in the past did what his administration was doing with such scarce resources and berated the opposition for criticising his administration.
“In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.
“Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point;
“Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre
“Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346.
“In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.
“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.
“Fellow Nigerians, to achieve the great country we desire, we need to solidify our strength, increase our commitment and encourage ourselves to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching,” Buhari said.