Fuel Price Hike Not In View, Says FG | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Fuel Price Hike Not In View, Says FG

PENGASSAN, fuel price, NNPC
Posted: Sep 6, 2016 at 5:42 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


* To Enforce Fiscal Discipline In States

*Saves N8bn Monthly By Eliminating 40,000 Ghost Workers


Innocent Oweh



President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday met with the Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation? (NNPC), Maikanti Baru and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Emerging from the meeting both Baru and Kachikwu denied knowledge of plans to hike the price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol.

The meeting which was held behind closed doors came on the heels of calls by former GMDs of the corporation for an upward review of the price of petrol, stating that the current price of N145 per litre could not be sustained in the face of current realities.

Oil marketers last month also said due to the continued scarcity of foreign exchange to finance the importation of PMS? the price may increase.

The former GMDs at a meeting convened by Baru on Saturday argued that the ?current price cap of N145 per litre is not commensurate with the liberalisation policy especially that of foreign exchange rate and other price determining components such as crude cost, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) charges, among others.

Emerging from the meeting with the president both the NNPC GMD and minister of state for petroleum evaded commenting on a possible increase of the product.

When accosted, Baru walking off only told journalists that “there is nothing like that. Go to PPPRA”.

The GMD also directed journalists to go to the Petroleum Product Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA?) for anything on fuel increase.

Kachikwu, who also refused to stop and respond to journalists, said “there is no memo to that effect, wait for the GMD”.

The Federal Government liberalised the downstream sector of the petroleum industry on May 11, 2016, and announced an increase in the pump price of petrol from N86 and N86.5 per litre to between N135 and N145 per litre.

It had also stated that the market was to be driven by the factors of demand and supply, as it was now largely in the hands of private sector players.

Meanwhile, Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, says the Federal Government is determined to enforce fiscal discipline across the states to check wasteful spending.

Shehu in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday said that the Federal Government was not limiting its economic and financial reform programmes to the centre alone.

He said that the Federal Government would force the state governments to reform their spending and build savings and investments.

The presidential aide was reacting to the current economic and financial challenges facing the country.

Shehu said the reform would include blockage of leakages that allowed government’s revenues to be siphoned into private hands.

He said that the ongoing probe into the finances of the military authorities was part of the reform aimed at checking corrupt practices in the military establishment.

“Look at what a civilian administration is today doing to the military, investigating their finance and accounts that the military could not do to themselves.

“See what the current administration is doing to sanitise the huge salary bill by eliminating payroll fraud.

“So far, the federal payroll has been rid of about 40,000 ghost workers. More than eight billion naira stolen monthly has been saved.

“We are also saving on wasteful expenses like First Class Travel and Private Jets for official trips.

“The Federal Government is not limiting the reforms to the centre, but forcing state governments to reform their spending and build savings or investments,” he said.

According to the presidential aide, government is also increasing spending on capital projects, especially on infrastructure needed to make Nigerian businesses competitive and create jobs.

“Currently, there is focus on key sectors (apart from oil) that can create jobs and or generate revenue such as agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing.”

He said that if these things had been done when the oil price was as high as $140 dollars per barrel, Nigeria would not be in the current predicament.

“We would not be suffering now if we had cash reserves, but we had regular supply of power, a good rail system, good roads and good housing.

“Now that the oil has fallen as low as $28 per barrel, it is very difficult to do what is needed but they must be done to save Nigeria.

“There is no other way if we want to be honest.

“If PDP were still in power they would have continued deceiving people, by borrowing to fund stealing and wastage and the problem would have simply been postponed for future generations to face.

“There are many who say that this government’s economic strategy is unclear whereas the previous government seemed well coordinated.

“I will make the confession that we, the officials hired to communicate government policies that includes myself, have not done as well as we should have.

“The truth is that more than any other time before, there is a clear direction and strategy for achieving growth and development.

“Revisionists may not agree, but the truth of the matter is that the previous administration only had one issue, which was how to spend money (oil revenues and borrowed money).”

He said that the spending was focused on “the wrong things and even though the economy seemed to be growing it was not sustainable as described by Minister Adeosun.”