Nigerians To Pay More For Petrol As FG Set To Fully Deregulate Downstream

Petrol-StationNigerians may have to brace up for a minimum of 27.7 per cent hike in fuel price nationwide if the federal government’s plan to introduce policy changes signaling full deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry in a matter of days, goes on unchallenged.
If the plan succeeds, Nigerians will have to pay about N110 per litre for petrol at NNPC retail outlets while the price will be higher at other independent marketers’ outlets, PREMIUM TIMES reports.
Citing officials well-briefed on this policy direction, the online news platform reported that no formal announcement of the new hike in pump price of petrol would be made by government to prevent the scenario that played out in January 2012.
In January 2012, then President Goodluck Jonathan gave Nigerians the rude shock of their lives when without prior warning, he announced in his New Year message, the removal of subsidy – a major pre-requisite to the commencement of full scale deregulation of the petroleum down sector.
The move led to mass protests by organized labour, civil society groups and Nigerians across the country for five days, forcing the Jonathan administration to soft-pedal by introducing “partial subsidy”.
Mr. Jonathan would later confess in one of his presidential media chats that security reports that the protests could lead to the downfall of his administration prompted the deployment of battle-ready troops to quell the protests in Lagos, which was the heartbeat of the anti-subsidy removal protests.
In a bid to avoid the ‘mistake’ of the Jonathan administration, industry sources familiar with the plan said government was on the verge of discreetly giving permission to petroleum products marketers to gradually adjust their pump prices as early as midweek to herald the formal take-off of deregulation in the country.
The sources, who pleaded not to be named because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said government resorted to that drastic decision to end the vicious cycle of fuel scarcity crises and avoid subsidy payments.
However, the present administration has an upper-hand in the implementation of this policy unlike in 2012 due to what the sources said was government’s ability to have successfully wooed organised labour and its affiliate unions to its side.
However, that claim could not be independently verified as the General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Peter Ozo-Eson, was yet to respond to enquiries on this development on Sunday as he was in a meeting.
Also, the acting Executive Secretary, PPPRA, Sotonye Iyoyo, did not respond to calls, and a text message.
Insiders well briefed on the matter said top level secret meetings had been going on all week to weigh the security implications of the possible fallouts of the policy.
One of such meetings took place at the headquarters of the Department of State Services in Abuja where the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, met with heads of security agencies to fine tune possible security response should Nigerians take to the streets in protest against the policy.
Official spokespersons for key petroleum industry agencies were evasive when asked for comments Sunday afternoon.
NNPC spokesperson, Garbadeen Mohammed, said reports of the planned introduction of deregulation by government was news to him.

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