El-Rufai proposes N408.5 per litre fuel, as Govs back subsidy removal

Gbemisola Ajiboye

The Nigeria Governors Forum has recommended that the price of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, should be between N380 and N408.5 per litre.

The price band was made known on Wednesday at a meeting of the NGF.

A committee, set up by the NGF and headed by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, recommended the price band.

The committee called for the immediate removal of subsidy from petrol.

El-Rufai explained that the current subsidy regime was unsustainable because smugglers and illegal markets in neighbouring African countries were the beneficiaries.

The committee recommended that the removal of subsidies should be immediate to save the nation’s economy.

The Kaduna State Governor noted that Nigeria, like other Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries members, agreed to cut production to keep the prices high, but Nigeria could not fully benefit from the regime because of subsidies.

He said: “Between N70 billion and N210 billion is estimated to be spent every month to keep gasoline price at N162 per litre.

“This is below the cost price and the remittance to the Federation Account will shrink to less than N50 billion per month or even zero if threats persist.

“We are already at zero.

“I understand for tomorrow, so this scenario has occurred.

“Why are we keeping the price at N162?

“We are keeping the price because the Federal Government and trade unions met and agreed to the suspension of some industrial action months back.

“Even though we all supported deregulation of petroleum products prices last year, this agreement was suspended by the Federal Government because of a threat of industrial action by unions.

“This is the root of the problem and now we are back to losing between N70 billion to N210 billion per month.”

El-Rufai further explained that in the 2021 budget, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had committed to remitting a minimum of N120 billion per month to the Federation Account, but it had been unable to do so.

While presenting the recommendation of the committee about the price of petrol, he further explained that only about 12 states consumed two-thirds of the petrol, which was heavily subsidised.

The committee recommended N408.5 litre as the appropriate price in the circumstance, but that with concessions to labour unions, N380 per litre could be the minimum.

El-Rufai stated: “The committee recommends PMS pump price increment from the current N162 per litre to N408.5 per litre (negotiations with organized labour unions).

“N380 per litre (settlement with organized labour).”

This, he said, was necessary to free funds for critical projects and payment of other obligations.

Other governors who contributed to the debate included Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, who said the 93 million litres, which the NNPC claimed was consumed in Nigeria daily, was unacceptable.

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