An uneasy calm hangs over Nigerian petrol stations as whispers of a potential N1,200 per litre price tag for petrol have set Nigerian tongues wagging and anxieties simmering, BusinessDay’s findings have revealed
Though official pronouncements remain elusive, independent marketers’ murmurings about a potential increase in the pump price of petrol to N1,200 per litre have sparked a wave of apprehension across the country.
The proposed price hike is reportedly being driven by a combination of factors, including the rising cost of crude oil on the international market, the weakening of the naira against the dollar, and the high cost of distributing petrol within Nigeria.
“So, if you consider the cost of diesel, dollar and other international factors, the price of petrol in Nigeria should be around N1,200/litre, but the government is subsidising it, which to an extent is understandable,” Ukadike Chinedu, the national public relations officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria told Punch.
The news has sparked immediate reactions, with many expressing concern about the impact on their already-strained budgets.
“My daily transport already eats up a quarter of my salary,” Adeola Owoye, a staff in one of Nigeria’s commercial banks said on X, formally known as Twitter. “If this hike happens, then what? Walking to work isn’t even an option with the distance and safety concerns.”
Chukwuemeka Nnaji, a taxi driver, voiced similar concerns. “My entire livelihood depends on affordable fuel. If the price goes up to N1,200, I won’t be able to make ends meet. I’ll have to park my car and find something else to do, but what?”
“This is just unimaginable,” lamented Ebunola Olaniyi, a single mother of three. “How are we supposed to cope with this? Transport fares will skyrocket, food prices will go up, and everything will become more expensive. We’re barely surviving as it is.”
President Bola Tinubu, in his inaugural address, announced the removal of almost 50 years of the petrol subsidy regime.
BusinessDay’s findings showed there have been speculations that the government had partly reintroduced petrol subsidy, unannounced, to keep the pump price at N617 given the continued fall in the value of naira against the dollar and the price of crude oil in the international market.
For instance, Festus Osifo, the national president of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Festus Osifo, on October 6, insisted that the Nigerian government had restored the subsidy on petrol, despite the official government policy of ending the subsidy regime.
Osifo, who is also the president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), one of Nigeria’s two largest workers union coalitions, while featuring on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, said due to the cost of crude oil in the international market and the exchange rate, the government still pays subsidies on petrol.
“The government has to come clean. In reality today, there is a subsidy because as of when the earlier price was determined, the price of crude in the international market was somewhere around less than $80 a barrel. But today, it has moved to about $93/94 per barrel for Brent crude. So, because it has moved, then the price (of petrol) also needed to move,” Osifo said in October.
In its reaction, NNPC Ltd however said the Nigerian government has not resumed payment of subsidy on petrol.
“No subsidy whatsoever. We are recovering our full cost from the products that we import. We sell to the market and we understand why the marketers are unable to import,” Kyari told State House correspondents on October 9 after a meeting with the president at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.