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Current fuel price to remain, as Nigerian govt rejects govs’ advice for N380/litre

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Increase in petrol price inevitable –Rewane

The discussions on payment of fuel subsidy and its attendant ripple effects continue as the Federal Government on Friday rejected the recommendation by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum for an increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.

According to the FG, no decision on the adjustment of petrol price would be reached until the ongoing negotiations with the organised labour were concluded.

Ripples Nigeria had reported that the FG, on May 21, initially rejected the governors’ recommendation of increasing the petrol price up to between N380 and N408.5 per litre while eliminating the payment of subsidy.

The recommendation of the governors was predicated on the committee’s report chaired by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, seeking the full deregulation of the oil sector.

According to the presentation anchored by El-Rufai, the current subsidy regime was unsustainable because smugglers and illegal markets in neighbouring African countries were the beneficiaries.

However, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, in a statement on Friday, said the current petrol price of between N162 and N165 per litre would stay.

Sylva said the current price would be retained until the ongoing negotiations with the organised labour were concluded.

He said, “Once again, it has become necessary to assure Nigerians that despite the huge burden of under-recovery, the Federal Government is not in a hurry to increase the price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) to reflect current market realities.

“The current price of petrol will be retained in the month of June until the ongoing engagement with organised labour is concluded.

“This clarification becomes necessary in the light of recent reports regarding the resolution of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to increase the pump price of petrol.”

Read also: DPR hints at fuel price hike to N1,000 per litre

Sylva also asked oil marketers not to engage in any activity that could jeopardise the “seamless” supply and distribution system of the commodity.

The Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Garba-Deen Muhammad, also re-echoed the position of Sylva.

Muhammad said people were free to make analyses and recommendations, but stressed that the government’s position on petrol price had not changed.

He said, “The truth is that the key component for us to make the decision is basically for us to have a consensus with labour. So regardless of what the governors or anybody else is saying, labour is the key partner in this project.

“The negotiations with labour officials are ongoing. A decision will not be reached until the negotiations are over. So anybody can say what they want.”

He added, “The fact is that the labour represents the Nigerian people and the government is working with the Nigerian people. So it is a cardinal objective that the labour is carried along.”

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