Nothing we can do about petrol price increase — FG

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Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said the Federal Government, in line with the deregulation of the oil sector, will leave the prices of petroleum products to be determined by the market forces.

She noted that the implication is that the petrol price in Nigeria will go higher from its present N165 if the price of crude keeps going up.

Zainab said this during her contribution in an interaction arranged by the Presidency Media team and State House reporters, yesterday.

“We simply cannot afford the subsidy, we don’t have the money to pay for subsidy”, she said.

“We do recognise that there will be some increased hardships on a segment of the society. But we are looking at how to address that,’’ she added.

In another report published by Reuters, Ahmed called the rising price of crude a “double-edged sword,” as the Federal Government seeks a deal with Organised Labour over fuel prices.

She said the central government forecasts an optimistic outlook on the rising crude prices.

But simultaneously, it must deal with the “tussle” with Labour over subsidies and rising local prices of fuel.

According to her, “the rising oil price is a double-edged sword for Nigeria. While it boosts revenue, it creates fuel price headache at the same time.”

Oil prices are averaging around $64 per barrel, above the $40 per barrel projected in the N13.6 trillion ($35.74 billion) budget document.

Early this month, Nigerians woke up to the news that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had released the price template for petrol for the month.

According to the release from the PPPRA, the template indicated that the retail price should go to N212 per litre, from N162-N165.

The agency would later deleted the template from its website after the national outrage the development generated and coupled with insistence of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that there was no increase in price of petroleum for the month.