Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday, in a statement titled ‘The Fuel Pricing Debate: Our Story’, explained that the recent increase in the price of petrol announced by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was not due to the removal of subsidy but a hike necessitated by the foreign exchange challenges in the country.
The NNPC had on Thursday announced an increase in petrol prices from N86.50 to N145 per litre.
The statement reads in part:
“These marketers, up until three months ago, sourced their foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria at the official rate. However, since late last year, independent marketers have brought in little or no fuel because they have been unable to get foreign exchange from the CBN. The CBN simply did not have enough. (In April, oil earnings dipped to $550 million. The amount required for fuel importation alone is about $225million!)”
He said despite the best efforts of the NNPC to shore up the supply, it lacked the capacity to distribute and meet the demand of petrol.
“Meanwhile, NNPC tried to cover the 50% shortfall by dedicating more export crude for domestic consumption. Besides the short-term depletion of the Federation Account, which is where the FG and States are paid from, and further cash-call debts piling up, NNPC also lacked the capacity to distribute 100% of local consumption around the country. Previously, they were responsible for only about 50%. (Partly the reason for the lingering scarcity).”
“What happened is as follows: our local consumption of fuel is almost entirely imported.”
He concluded with the assurance that government is working on plans to cushion the effect on poor Nigerians
“The most important issue, of course, is how to shield the poor from the worst effects of the policy. I will hopefully address that in another note.
Nigerians on social media are having their say on the VP’s stance:
With the statement from the VP, is Prof Osinbajo confirming the rumours that the Naira has been devalued to N290 to one dollar?
— Tope Templer (@TopeTempler) May 13, 2016
Oga osinbajo stop lying to us, all of una get reason why una increase d price, if we accept yurs, Wat if $ goes up?: https://t.co/WABPHP2ttd
— Seun Anikulapo Kuti (@RealSeunKuti) May 13, 2016
@RealSeunKuti that's the big issue! His explanation is "fantastically clear" & it means the more NGN falls the higher the pump price/ltr
— ahmed abiola (@ahmedabiola15) May 13, 2016
When we told you that Prof. Yemi Osinbajo defended Pfizer against Nigerians, you said human beings change.
We are still waiting for Change
— #iStandWithSaraki (@RadicalYouthMan) May 13, 2016
With petrol price hike predicated on importers sourcing fx from secondary market, CBN lost initiative again. Osinbajo only made it worse.
— Phoenix Agenda (@phoenix_agenda) May 14, 2016
VP Osinbajo has confirmed it, not deregulation but FX wahala. Same FX we have been complaining about. Ok.
— Raymond Enaholo (@er_rays) May 14, 2016