Nationwide Hike In Petrol Price; do we have a peculiar problem?
In recent times, Nigeria seem to be in about every untoward report of negativism, even if some folks are trying very hard to sell the bad ‘goodness’ of this present administration.
Now, this is not a mudslinging report against only the present administration, but the entirety of the governing system in the polity. This is against everyone, and anyone involved in why things are not working the way they ought to. Both rich and poor.
Now, the economic condition in Nigeria, I must say isn’t peculiar to only us, but somehow we have made it very magically peculiar, in that we seem not know how to help ourselves from the mess. Instead, some political elites run the mess into more deepset quagmire, whilst the masses suffer and bear the brunt of their numerous un-clever decisions.
Just last week, another bombshell hit most Nigerians; after about five weeks of nationwide protests, military squashing, looting, arson, prison breaks, and nationwide unrest. As if that was not enough, the government began to clamp down on perceived sponsors of the #EndSars protest, by seizing their travelling passports, freezing their accounts, and generally making them feel at no ease. Yet, they claim to be a responsive government. Indeed, I must say.
Now, another bug has bitten the populace. The only bug capable of creeping our economy. It is no more new, that our most essential commodity, which is petroleum, has been hiked again, for the umpteenth time in this present administration. And then I ask myself, what is so difficult for us, to fix, in order for us to have a better Nigeria? Or do we have a peculiar problem?
On the 13th of November, the news came to us as a shock, when the federal government announced how that the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit(PMS), otherwise called petrol, would now sell for N168 – N170 per litre, as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) increased the wholesale price of the product from N147 to N155. Despite the dwindling price of crude oil at the international market.
For the sake of comparison, the price of gasoline in the world for this period is N388. 46, compared to 0.336E and 0.396USD. It isn’t the Naira’s fault. Not at all. Because, It has been so devalued in the international market that it has no appreciable market value. Yet, we belong to OPEC, a member nation of long standing years, with nothing to show for as leverage in the international market.
The sad part is, we have one of the best oils in the world, almost with no sulphur, but we have no refining power, because none of our four refineries are functional. What would it take the government, over the years to either fix these refineries, or even build the promised modular ones, which are cost effective; If not that there are a whole lot of underground shenanigans being ferried around in barrels of crude oil, or kept deeply entrenched in oil wells.
The reason why we have these unstable pump prices, since this present government deregulated the market following the low price of crude oil at the international market, is because of the cost of IMPORTATION!
Because now, we have to pay for each barrel at the rate of the international price, and also pay for the cost of insurance, of fiat , of unsafe water ways, and then of marketing and distribution. Why do we have to go through all these, if we have our own refineries?
Something, somewhere, isn’t really adding up. And we’ve got to ask ourselves some pertinent questions.
Who are those benefiting from all these?
Who are the mercenaries pillaging our resources?
Who are those making it difficult for us to safely distribute our own fuel?
Something, somewhere, isn’t really adding up. And we just need to see it, and tell ourselves the truth, how that some elitist minorities do not believe in the concept of a stable economy. Because, how else can we reconcile these inconsistent fuel prices since June. The price band rose steadily from N121.50 – N123.50 per litre in June, to N140. 80 – N143.80 in July, and N148 – N150 in August. In September, the pump price rose from N158 to N162 per litre. Quite some ridiculous statistics, I must say. It makes one wonder, are we really making any progress in this country?
And what are we doing at the moment, that we aren’t doing right?
Now, we have to live through this new pump price of N170, and to think that we are now in the ’ember’ months. Can we say the government is ignorant of the fact that when petrol price is hiked, then food becomes scarce, and then the available ones are also hiked. At a time when Covid 19 has ravaged our cost of food production, since we stopped its importation.
Now, the ordinary man is disadvantaged. The very essential staple foods now becomes very difficult for him to afford. And if the man revolts, then they’ll call his peaceful protest against bad governance as some hue and cry to topple the government. Are we really in a country?
When we raise issues along these lines, and we push for them to be internationally heard, some pro-government supporters claim that there is nothing the federal government can do about the prices, since the international market determines them. Now, I put it to them, if the government wants to start measuring with the standards of the international forces, they should also be made aware that there is an international minimum wage that a country must pay its workers. Which isn’t the paltry 38 thousand. And which they must comply with that too. Since they think they can just loosely use the word “international”.
But we know, our government has selective amnesia. They only choose what is convenient for them. If not, they should know that this is not the time for a hike in pump price. It is so economically ridiculous!
The nature of the ruling elites doesn’t really believe in the country it rules, therefore it cannot push policies for sustainable economic growth.
Again, I need an answer. Do we have a peculiar problem?