As the global oil prices slid further, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state at the weekend queried the Federal Government reluctance to cut the pump prices of oil from N97 per litre in the country, to correspond with the slump in the global oil price.
The Organisation of Petroleum exporting Countries (OPEC), had on Friday on its website put the oil price at $66.27 per barrel.
Fashola made the statement while addressing hundreds of youths at the Lagos State and After School Graduation Development Centre, AGDC, IGNITE Employability Project 5, Ikeja, lamented that Nigerians were not receiving fair treatment from the central government like others in oil producing nation.
He said, “Now we should be enjoying cheap fuel if the price of oil has dropped globally. And even as we import the product, a major component has reduced in price. While this has reduced, the pump price of fuel in the country still remains the same; then something is wrong. If the price increases in the country when the price of oil goes up globally, then it should also reduce when the price of oil drops.
“I understand that I am not an economist; they (Federal Government) are the economist. But I have some logic and common sense to ask critical questions. For instance, if one buys flour at N10 per kilogramme, and the bread was sold at N1 per loaf, if the price of flour drops, the price of the bread should also change,” Fashola added.
The governor said that the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration should follow the footstep of other countries that have reduced the pump price of oil products for their citizens.
The governor however noted that the oil sector of the country had not been improved to address challenges confronting the nation especially unemployment, saying “The economy is not doing well. Some of you (audience) are compelled to try to survive through whatever means.”
Explaining how the oil sector would have addressed the unemployment challenges, He said “If we stop importing fuel, and start building refineries and doing other right things. The economy will lift. If you build a gas grid for the country and rough estimate indicated that investing $5 billion, many businesses will began to get gas and some of the power installation can also convert to gas and others, there would be sudden positive effect on the country’s economy.
“We will not be here talking about youth unemployment if the economy was doing well. There are so many businesses that are already shutdown today because either there was no power and the operational costs have made their product expensive. It has made it for many companies to succeed.
“From the maintenance contracts that we issue, 40 percent of those maintenance cost were spent on buying diesel. One could imagine what that fund would have done if power was constant. That is depressing,” he added.