22 May 2016, Abuja — The federal government has said its hands were tied over the decision to raise the pump price of petrol.
Speaking during a meeting with the national leadership of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), in Abuja, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said contrary to misrepresentations that fuel subsidy had been removed, what the government did was to liberalise the downstream sector of the oil industry.
Mohammed who was accompanied by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, and Malam Adamu Adamu came to brief the party leaders about the rationale for the downstream policy on behalf of President Muhammad Buhari.
The ministers who took their turns to explain the position of government, noted that the decision to raise fuel price was made in order remove the heavy burden being placed on the dwindling foreign exchange earning.
“We do not have other option because the regime before now was based on a process where some licensed oil marketers would go to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and open a lot of credit.
as shown their commitment to continue dialogue with government, and our role is to see that we facilitate that so that through dialogue, we can address the issues.
“I am encouraged by what they have said and confident that we would be able to do this. I know when they leave here, they are also going to meet with the House of Representatives and right now, as they are in the Senate, we play our own role in facilitating and ensuring that we can bring the two parties together and find a lasting solution that will reduce the hardships that Nigerians are going through.
Also, Dogara, in his opening remarks, before retreating into a closed door session, appealed to labour to suspend the ongoing strike, noting that the change promised by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government means things would be done differently.
According to the speaker, “It may not matter if two or three persons protest against the policies of the government, in democracy, there is always dialogue. Aspirations of citizens are supposed to be part of progress. “When citizens only see democracy as a chance to push through their individual needs, they can shatter the country,” as he harped on the need for sacrifice by the citizens.