Fixed reactions have continued to trail Federal government’s decision to reduce pump price of petrol from N97 to N87 following crash of crude oil price at the international market.
Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke while announcing the slash on Monday said the reduction became necessary due to the consistent slide in the price of crude at the international market.
She added that the Petroleum Product Price Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), has been directed to effect the new change with immediate effect.
However, Nigerians viewed the N10 cut from the pump price of fuel as another ‘Greek gift’ from President Goodluck Jonathan few weeks to election.
Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo said winning election was the reason Jonathan decided to reduce the price of petroleum product, describing it as a last minute deception and a panic mode to warm himself into the hearts of Nigerians.
“In the United States, the prices of petroleum were reduced two months ago when the prices started falling. Why are we just doing it here now?
I am not impressed. The fuel price fall is about 60 percent and the reduction is not commensurate with the fall in prices,” he said.
On his part, Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Comrade Debo Adeniran rejected the reduction, saying it is not commensurate with the fall in crude oil price, lamenting that the reduction was not also done across board as the prices of diesel and kerosene were not reduced.
Adeniran also said the reduction was simply political and a way to win the hearts of the people to vote for his candidacy.
A human rights organisation in Nigeria – Committee for Democracy and Rights of the People (CDRP) has questioned the economic rationale behind the federal government’s reduction of the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from N97 to N87.
In a statement, the group said the decision was not in the interest of the Nigerian masses and therefore “parochial and politically motivated”.
Acting National Coordinator of the group, Comrade Saka Waheed, slammed the N87 price as arbitrarily arrived at, in the face of declining global oil prices.
“The natural economic expectation of our organisation is that the price of petroleum would drop in conformity with the current global fall in the price of the commodity. Therefore, it is strange and parochial to hear that the federal government is celebrating a paltry N10 reduction.
“A careful review of government action thus far has clearly shown that the federal government has not learnt from the aftermath of January 1st 2012 subsidy protest. They are about to impose a reverse subsidy on the populace. In case the government does not know, the main message of the 2012 protest was that there is a limit upon which government can take people for granted” Comrade Saka stated.
The group therefore emphasised that the government has no basis to keep the retail price of PMS at N87.
“The price of PMS must revert to N65 with immediate effect”, the group said.
Also, the APC in Oyo State has rejected the slight adjustment in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), describing the development as hypocritical
Director of Publicity, Olawale Sadare, challenged the president and his economic team to explain how the new pump price came into being and without making any guiding statement on it.
“It is to the common knowledge of everyone that the prices of crude oil in the global market have fallen by 50 percent but the Nigerian government chose to announce a phantom 10 per cent reduction in the
official pump price of petrol in what we suspect to be another subtle attempt to evolve a soft landing for the president in next month’s general elections.
“In as much as Nigerians are amazed that the PDP administration of Dr. Jonathan can bow to the pressure, which first came from the APC in Oyo State, to reduce the fuel pump price, it is curious to note that the announcement in the dead of the night by the minister did not meet the expectations of the people and as such cannot be celebrated.
“What happens to the prices of other petroleum products such as kerosene which sells for between N120 and N150 when its landing cost is N45.90k? Why does Nigeria still depend largely on smaller countries with functional refineries to run its economy when we are the world’s sixth-largest exporter of crude oil? Why does the country lose at least 400,000 barrel of crude oil to pirates on daily basis?” the party asked.