The Nigerian presidency has continued to justify the rise in petrol price, that moved from N145 to N161 and may even go higher, going by the hints in President Buhari’s October 1 speech.
Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on media, Malam Garba Shehu told Channels TV Politics today that it is unfair for poor Nigerians to continue to subsidise the lifestyle of urban dwellers.
“How many Nigerians have cars anyway? How many of them run generators in their homes that they need this fuel for? Is it fair that the farmer and the herder and all of these low-level people in our society, that the taxpayer money is taken from them and is subsidising the lifestyle of our city, urban dwellers?
“So the President is just trying to be as practical as possible on this matter,” Shehu said.
“We belong to a global market system. We are buying, mostly, refined products from the international markets”, he added.
Shehu also defended President Muhammadu Buhari’s comment on Independence day, where he compared the price of fuel in Nigeria with that obtained in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring African countries and Egypt.
“So Saudi Arabia is important in this discussion because what is the technical cost of producing a barrel of oil in Saudi Arabia? It’s not more than a quarter of what we spend here. And yet you see that they charge more than Nigeria. How much comes to Nigeria?
“One, you look at their technical cost. So therefore Nigerians should be realistic.”
He also argued that it was unwise for the government to continue to determine prices and be an active player in the petroleum industry.
“Government is not the best manager of businesses; we should surrender them to the market,” he said.
“We have done this with the telecoms; the telecoms are serving the whole nation excellently well, and when we do this with petrol, we will no longer have to cope with queues, spending two nights ahead of Christmas travel.
“All nations of the world put this thing to the market. We should no longer pretend,” Shehu said.