The increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the federal government is insensitive and an affront on the collective sensibilities of Nigerians who have endured pains and agony in the last five years, the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has said.
The Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), this week, adjusted the ex-depot price of petrol from N138.62 to N147.67.
The increase was defended by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, who said that the current price reflects the global crude oil price.
But in a statement issued in Lagos today, CAPPA faulted the government and demanded a reversal of the increase to forestall the untold hardship it will inflict on Nigerians particularly at a time that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought untold hardship on families and businesses.
"While governments globally are supporting small and middle-income businesses to survive the impacts of the COVID-19, the current administration is adding to the burden of the Nigerian people who have lost their livelihoods and sense of dignity. This increase in fuel price among several other hikes in the public services sector will plunge the Nigerian people into penury and distress. It is reprehensible", said Akinbode Oluwafemi, CAPPA Executive Director.
CAPPA lamented that the current administration is running a capitalist agenda without consideration for the poor Nigerian people, insisting that "everything about the recent increase in PMS and electricity is to create more hardship and suffering for the Nigerian people and will further plummet the value of Nigerian citizenship".
The organisation said it was disheartening that the current administration is continuing the same wrong policies that previous governments introduced in the petroleum sector which includes hiking prices of petroleum products at their whim, spiking protests by labour and civil society.
"For a government that claims to be fighting corruption yet overlooks the rot going on in the petroleum sector, continues to fund the bazaar called Turn Around Maintenance of the refineries, and yet pushes the burden on the victims of this perpetrated evil system leaves much to be desired"
"In the last five years, the government has laboured to convince Nigerians that the oil sector has been deregulated and yet continues to pay subsidy. Who are the beneficiaries of this so-called subsidy? Our response has always been that it is the people in our poor communities with no government presence that actually pay the subsidy enjoyed by the few rich," he argued.
To avoid undesirable reactions from the masses, CAPPA advised the government to immediately reverse the latest increase in pump price, suspend the planned increment in electricity tariff and bring succour to the Nigerian people.