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Nigerian govt ascribes fuel price hike to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough

The Nigerian government Monday affirmed that its new upward review of the retail price of gasoline was triggered by the progress recorded by New-York based pharmaceutical multinational, Pfizer, in the development of a vaccine capable of treating Covid-19.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva told newsmen in Abuja on Monday that oil prices in the international market saw a modest upward pressure following Pfizer’s declaration of a remedy for the virus.

“What happened recently was because of the announcement of a vaccine for COVID-19 by Pfizer. With that, crude oil prices went up a little bit,” he said.

“If you have been following crude oil prices, you would have seen that crude oil prices went up a little bit as a result of this announcement.

“So, when crude oil prices go up a little bit, then you will see that (it will) instantly reflect on the price of petrol, which is a derivative of crude oil.”

Mr Sylva stated that fuel pump price was dictated by the forces of demand and supply at the global market, going on to say government chose to deregulate the downstream energy sector with a view to getting the best result.

Read also: Buhari’s fuel price comparison with Saudi Arabia justified —Lai Mohammed

“When the price of crude oil goes up, then it means that the price of the fixed stock has gone higher.

“It will also affect the price of the refined product and that is why you see that product prices are usually not static, it depends on the price of crude oil which goes up and down.

“That is why we say, deregulate so that as the price goes up or down, you begin to go up and down as well as the pump. Before now, we fixed it – which was not optimal for us as a country.”

He disclosed that Nigeria’s revenues were not stable by reason of their reliance on oil proceeds, implying fuel pump price could, by extension, not be stable also as fixing it at a particular price was not sustainable.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) on Monday denounced the move saying it contradicted the spirit and content of the group’s last negotiations with government over fuel price increase.
“There is a limit to what the citizens can tolerate if these abysmal increases in the price of refined petroleum products and other essential goods and services continue,” Ayuba Wabba, the labour group chief, said in a statement.

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