Nigerian govt bows to people pressure

*Cuts petrol price to N97

16 January 2012, Sweetcrude, Abuja – In his second address to the nation in two weeks following the removal of subsidy on premium motor spirit, PMS, President Goodluck Jonathan early this morning announced that government has approved the reduction of the pump price of petrol to N97 per litre.

On the 1st January government had through the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, announced an increase in in the price of PMS from N65 per litre to N140 per litre sparking protests from both organised labour and civil society groups for one whole week.

Since the increase, organised labour and representatives of the government have been meeting but failed to reach any agreement.

Full text of the President’s address this morning:

“Dear Compatriots,

“This is the second time in two weeks I will address you on the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector. In the last seven days, the nation has witnessed a disruption of economic activities. Although, the economic imperatives for the policy have been well articulated by government, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) went ahead to declare a nationwide strike.

“There was also near-breakdown of law and order in certain parts of the country as a result of the activities of some persons or groups of persons who took advantage of the situation to further their narrow interests by engaging in acts of intimidation, harassment and outright subversion of the Nigerian state. I express my sympathy to those who were adversely affected by the protests.

“At the inception of the deregulation policy, Government had set up the Justice Alfa Belgore Committee to liaise with Labour and other stakeholders to address likely grey areas in the policy, but despite all our efforts, Labour refused the option of dialogue and also disobeyed a restraining order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.

“However, following the intervention of the Leadership of the National Assembly, and other well-meaning Nigerians, Labour accepted to meet with government, but this yielded no tangible result.

“It has become clear to government and all well-meaning Nigerians that other interests beyond the implementation of the deregulation policy have hijacked the protest. This has prevented an objective assessment and consideration of all the contending issues for which dialogue was initiated by government. These same interests seek to promote discord, anarchy, and insecurity to the detriment of public peace.

“Government appreciates that the implementation of the deregulation policy would cause initial hardships and commends Nigerians who have put forth suggestions and credible alternatives in this regard. Government also salutes Nigerians who by and large, conducted themselves peacefully while expressing their grievances. Let me assure you that government will continue to respect the people’s right to express themselves within the confines of the law and in accordance with the dictates of our democratic space.

“Government will continue to pursue full deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector. However, given the hardships being suffered by Nigerians, and after due consideration and consultations with state governors and the leadership of the National Assembly, government has approved the reduction of the pump price of petrol to N97 per litre. The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has been directed to ensure compliance with this new pump price.

“Government is working hard to reduce recurrent expenditure in line with current realities and to cut down on the cost of governance. In the meantime, government has commenced the implementation of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment projects: including the Federal Government- assisted mass transit programme which is already in place, and job creation for the youth.

“Furthermore, the legal and regulatory regime for the petroleum industry will be reviewed to address accountability issues and current lapses in the Industry. In this regard, the Petroleum Industry Bill will be given accelerated attention. The report of the forensic audit carried out on the NNPC is being studied with a view to implementing the recommendations and sanctioning proven acts of corruption in the industry.

“Let me assure Nigerians that this administration is irrevocably committed to tackling corruption in the petroleum industry as well as other sectors of the economy. Consequently, all those found to have contributed one way or the other to the economic adversity of the country will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

“My dear compatriots, I urge you to show understanding for the imperatives of the adjustment in the pump price of petrol and give government your full support to ensure its successful implementation. I further appeal to Nigerians to go back to work and go about their normal duties as government has made adequate arrangements for the protection of life and property throughout the federation.

“Government will not condone brazen acts of criminality and subversion. As President, I have sworn to uphold the unity, peace and order of the Nigerian State and by the grace of God, I intend to fully and effectively discharge that responsibility. Let me add that we are desirous of further engagements with Labour. I urge our Labour leaders to call off their strike, and go back to work.

“Nigeria belongs to all of us and we must collectively safeguard its unity.

“Thank you. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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  • Osunkunle D Joseph

    With this Mr president speech, it shows that he was confused and Nigeria reserve have been spent. If not let him prove it. To we Nigerians our trust is in God not in man if the senators, house of rep. and ministers are feeding fat and people complained ad no serious action was taken but just to fake us that 25% of there basic salary will be removed what about their allowances which they receive in millions. God is alive, He is going to judge every one of us, if it is good to suffer the whole nation because of one selfish and corruptable ambition. We knew that God put you there and he knows the appointed time to remove you. We are the Isrealites, God will surely fight for us,AMEN.

  • Isiwele omoz

    Guy GEL. From the initial pump price of the premium motor spirit product of N65 per litre, to subsidy removal regime of N140 and now N97 per litre. Guy GEL. I just want you to know that a good name is better than a bad name. Try to lay a foundation of legacy and trust like great mandela and prof. Ambrose alli (former bendel head of state) did. what u don’t know is that time is very short, in less than 3 years from now. Your administration will come to an end then u wil start campaining again and start begging nigerians to vote u again for second term in office, remember how much you spend on campain then as most of you politicians believe that the masses are poor a cup of rice will do them to vote. get that out of your thick skul and get this straight your antecedent will speak for you then, i beg mr GEL. don,t let nigerians and niger delta down ,will are looking upto you as our mentor. We will survive because we are survival already despite all the suffering the goverment are inflicting on the masses every where, we shall survive. N97. Per litre ok and not too ok but is better than N140 per litre, labour consider it and call of the strike let watch and see if the money from the subsidy will be accountable for. i appeal to the federal government to talk with Asun to call of strike we are sick and tired of wasting our time at home.