President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said Nigerians will continue to buy fuel at a higher rate than other countries.
Addressing the recent hike in petrol prices, President Buhari argued that it is unreasonable to sell petrol at a cheaper rate in Nigeria when the product was far more expensive in Saudi Arabia and countries in the West African sub-region.
He hinged the hiked prices on the significant drop in Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He further explained that sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible while acknowledging the social argument about the knock-on effect of the price adjustment.
“Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point.
“Chad, which is an oil-producing country, charges N362 per litre. Niger, also an oil-producing country sells oil at N346 per litre. Ghana, another oil-producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia”, Mr. Buhari said.
But the Nigerian leader ignored his country’s diminishing purchasing power index compared to Saudi Arabia, which is more advanced in technology and infrastructure.
Nigeria is also the world’s poverty capital, meaning most citizens cannot afford to buy petrol or kerosene for their daily use.
Mr. Buhari assumed power in 2015 on a promise to cut government waste and reduce petrol prices, but he now appears to have abandoned that promise.