The federal government calmed Nigerians on Monday, when it said that an increase in the price of petrol was not yet on the card in spite of the outcry for a hike by marketers of the product.
This was made known through separate statements by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was a response to the unanimous declaration on Saturday by the Past and present Group Managing Directors of the NNPC, that the current N145 per litre price of fuel was no longer in line with current economic realities. Stating that the current price contradicted the government’s liberalisation policy, especially with the worsening foreign exchange rate and other price determining components, including crude cost and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) charges, among others, remaining uncapped.
Buhari had yesterday met separately behind closed-doors with Kachikwu and Baru in his office. Details of the meetings, which might not be unconnected with the agitations for further petrol price hike, were not disclosed despite promptings by State House correspondents.
Kachikwu’s response to State House correspondents who asked him pointedly whether government contemplated an upward review as demanded by marketers was, “There is no memo on that”, refusing to give detailed answers to questions from the correspondents.
Also responding to the same query, Baru said: “There is nothing like that. Go to PPPRA (Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency).”
Moreover, the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Afenifere, former federal lawmakers, security experts and rights activists, on Saturday vowed to resist any attempt by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to further increase fuel price.