he Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday said President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress lack the political will to solve the “perennial” issues of fuel subsidy.
“The resurgence of long fuel queues in our filling stations in major cities across the country further explains the lack of political will by the President Muhammadu Buhari led All Progressives Congress administration in solving the perennial subsidy issues,” a note on the PDP’s verified social media accounts said.
“Nigeria is better with PDP.”
Fuel queues, which has rocked the Federal Capital Territory intermittently in the past few weeks, resurfaced in Lagos on Sunday.
Oil marketers had complained of the price of petrol compared to how much it took to deliver it to the final consumer.
However, the Federal Government has insisted that the pump price of petrol should remain at N165.
On Wednesday, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said it has resolved to maintain the status quo ante, even as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) responded positively to the association’s request by releasing products from their tank farms that can last 32 days.’
The sight of long fuel queues has since abated in parts of Lagos.
‘Why remove subsidy?’
Nigeria has subsidised petrol since the early years of the 2000s.
Although the country is one of the largest producers of crude oil, the bulk of petrol consumed in the country is imported due to the paucity of local refining capacity.
Experts have long called for petrol subsidy removal, saying it diverts much needed resources that could have been invested in infrastructure, education, health and other development sectors.
The Buhari administration had planned to remove subsidies in June this year but the move was halted after consultations with stakeholders such as the Nigeria Labour Congress.
Many Nigerians believe fuel subsidy is one of the few benefits that gets directly to citizens but the scheme has also been rocked by fraudulent activities.
On Tuesday, in a written note, to Bloomberg, President Buhari defended his administration’s decision to continue to subsidise petrol.
He said the government is working on boosting local capacity in order to stem the inflationary pressures that are likely to be triggered by a removal of subsidies.
“Most western countries are today implementing fuel subsidies. Why would we remove ours now?” What is good for the goose is good for the gander!” The President said.
“What our western allies are learning the hard way is what looks good on paper and the human consequences are two different things.
“My government set in motion plans to remove the subsidy late last year. After further consultation with stakeholders, and as events unfolded this year, such a move became increasingly untenable.
“Boosting internal production for refined products shall also help. Capacity is due to step up markedly later this year and next, as private players and modular refineries (Dangote Refinery, BUA Group Refinery, Waltersmith Refinery) come on board.
“The exchange rate is still susceptible to external shocks that can suddenly and severely affect Nigerian citizens. As we step up domestic production – both in fuel (enabled by PIA) and food (agricultural policies) – the inflationary threat shall diminish, and we can move toward unification.”