President Bola Tinubu in a swift reaction to Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) thread to shutdown the economy without prior notice if the price of Pemium Motor Spirit (PMS) commonly known as fuel goes up beyond the current N617 price, said his government will not reverse its policy on removal of subsidy assuring that there there will be no increase in price.
The president said that his administration is focus on swiftly cleaning up existing inefficiencies within the midstream and downstream Petroleum sector in the country.
Addressing State House correspondents on Tuesday, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale after conferring with the president on the issue at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The presidency stressed that “the President is convinced based on information before him that we can maintain current pricing without reversing our deregulation policy by swiftly cleaning up existing inefficiencies within the midstream and downstream Petroleum sector.”
Tinubu has therefore observed that the threat by the organized labour to go on strike without notice is premature, adding, “it is incumbent on all stakeholders to hold their peace and endeavour to do due dillegence to assertain the true position.”
According to Ngelale, the President is intent on maintaining competitive tension to ensure that no single imdividual or organization dominates the sector.
The Presidential spokesman said, the goverment will address the ineficiencies in the midstream and downstream petroleum value chains so that the price can be stabilized.
He presented a chart to prove that the cost of petrol is still much more cheaper in Nigeria than in other West African countries.
“This morning, I have the privilege of sitting down with His Excellency President Bola Tinubu as we discussed the current unfolding situation in the country as it relates to fuel supply and demand.
“The president wishes first to state that it is incumbent upon all stakeholders in the country to hold their peace.
“We have heard very recently from the organized labour movement in the country concerning their most recent threat.
“We believe that the threat was premature and that there is a need on all sides to ensure that fact finding and diligence is done on what the current state of the downstream and midstream petroleum industry is before any threats or conclusions are arrived at or issued.
“Secondly, Mr. President wishes to assure Nigerians following the announcement by the NNPC limited just yesterday that there will be no increase in the pump price of petroleum motor spirit anywhere in the country.
“We repeat, the president affirms that there will be no increase in the pump price of petroleum motor spirit.
“We also wish to affirm that the president is determined to maintain competitive tension within all sub sectors of the petroleum industry.
“He is determined to ensure that our policy drawn up as well as policy implemented follows the cue that there will not be any single one entity dominating the market.
“The market has been deregulated. It has been liberalized and we are moving forward in that direction without looking back.
“The President also wishes to affirm that there are presently inefficiencies within the midstream and downstream petroleum sub sectors that once very swiftly addressed and cleaned up will ensure that we can maintain prices where they are without having to resort to a reversal of this administration’s deregulation policy in the petroleum industry.
“I wish at this juncture to also provide a set of graphics which the president has authorized me to share with Nigerians that otherwise would be confidential. These are graphics supplied to Mr. president by the NNPCL.
“In the graphic, what you will find is the present cost of refined petroleum motor spirit at the pump in each of the West African nations that neighbour us and I’ll just name some for example, even as I know, you will be showing your audiences the graphics, which the president has graciously approved for public release today.
“Senegal at pump price today of N1,273 equivalent per liter, Guinea at N1,075 per liter, Côte d’ Ivore at N1,048 per litre equivalent in their currency, Mali N1,113 per litre, Central African Republic N1,414 per litre, Nigeria is presently averaging between N568 and N630 per litre.
“We are presently the cheapest, most affordable purchasing state in the West African sub-region by some distance. There is no country that is below N700 per liter.
“So, this is the backdrop we have seen that at the inception of our deregulation policy as of June 1 as Mr. President took office, we have seen PMS consumption in the country drop immediately from 67 million litres per day consumption, down to 46 million litres per day consumption. The impact is evident.
“What it also does mean though, is that we are not at the end of the tunnel. There is still a bit of darkness to travel through to get toward the light. And we are pleading with Nigerians to please be patient with us.
“And as we promised from the beginning, we will be open with Nigerians will be transparent with them. And we are ready to show you exactly what it is that our nation is facing with respect to the illiquidity in the market in terms of foreign exchange, as a result of what is now known to have been a gross mismanagement of the Central Bank of Nigeria over the course of several years preceding this time,” the Preisdency expalined.
Recall that the Nigerian Labour Congress, on Monday, addressed a press conference where they warned that should the pump price of petroleum increase beyond the present cost, it will embark on a nationwide strike without notifying the federal government due to the hardship the masses are going through.(Nigerian Pilot)