Nigeria@60: President Buhari Justifies Increase in Petroleum Products
President Muhammadu Buhari has admitted that the increase in the petroleum prices in Nigeria is justified compared to what is obtainable in other oil producing countries. The president said this while delivering a speech on the occasion of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary at Aso Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
According to the president, countries like Chad, Saudi Arabia and others are selling above the pump price in Nigeria and it doesn’t make “sense” for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria.
Buhari 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.”
Continuing, the President added, “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 oil at N346 per litre. 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.”
However, Nigerians have aired their views as they disagreed with the president and called such statement as being insensitive to the hardship the citizens are facing.
According to a twitter user, Wale Adetona “This comparison with Saudi Arabia and other countries really doesn’t make sense. Do they buy fuel for generators every day? Do they drive on bad roads? Our standard of living is NOT the same. Very irrational comparison”
“Minimum wage is Saudi Arabia is 3000 riyals and that’s over N300,000 sir. It makes sense to charge N168 per liter there but in Nigeria, minimum wage is N30,000. Does it make sense to charge N161 per liter??” says a twitter user with the handle MsMenalicious.
For an analyst, Bulama Bukarti “Today, Buhari justified his oil price surge by citing Saudi which charges N168 and said “It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.”But he forgot to mention that the minimum wage in Saudi is R3,000 which is N305,126. Pay N305,126. We’ll pay N168.”