Lagos — President Muhammadu Buhari has listed several negative consequences that may ensue if government attempts going back to subsidising prices of Petroleum Motor Spirit, PMS also known as petrol.
In his address at the first year ministerial performance review retreat held on Monday, President Buhari said first of all, it would mean a return to what he described as “the costly subsidy regime.”
“Today we have 60% less revenues, we just cannot afford the cost”, he said.
The second danger, according to him, is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, “thankfully”, become a thing of the past under his administration.
“Nigerians no longer have to endure long queues just to buy petrol, often at highly inflated prices”.
He hinted that government made no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget because the country could not afford it and that reasonable provision had to be made for health, education, and other social services.
“We now simply have no choice”.
Nevertheless, he assured Nigerians that government is “extremely mindful” of the pains that higher prices mean at this time, adding that his administration does not take the sacrifices that all Nigerians have to make for granted.
“We will continue to seek ways and means of cushioning pains especially for the most vulnerable in our midst. We will also remain alert to our responsibilities to ensure that marketers do not exploit citizens by raising pump price arbitrarily”.
“This is the role that government must now play through the PPPRA. This explains why the PPPRA made the announcement a few days ago setting the range of price that must not be exceeded by marketers”, adding that the advantage that Nigeria has now is the opportunity for “anyone” to bring in petroleum products and compete with marketers.
That way, he said, prices of petrol “will keep coming down”.