Nigeria President, Mohammadu Buhari has said that in reality, petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted, saying that sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible.
In his 60th independence anniversary speech, Preisdent Buhari stated that it makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre.
“We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point; Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre, Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346 and Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia”
He noted that his government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in the face of drastically reduced resources.
“In this regard, sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible. The government, since coming into office has recognized the economic argument for adjusting the price of petroleum. But the social argument about the knock-on effect of any adjustment weighed heavily with the government.
He said in addition to public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, the nation have suffered a significant drop in our foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues due to 40 per cent drop in oil prices and steep drop in economic activities, leading to a 60 per cent drop in government revenue.
This administration has been focused on rebuilding and laying the foundations for a sustainable Nigeria. Of course, we have met and are still meeting the challenges inherent in any rebuilding initiative – more so that of a nation like Nigeria that has undergone avoidable levels of deprivation – but can be surmounted if we all work together.
He said: “To achieve the great country we desire, we need to solidify our strength, increase our commitment and encourage ourselves to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching”.
The President said no government in the past, with such scarce resources, had done what his government have done since 2015.
“We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts”.