… Nigerians pay lowest for fuel, electricity in W/Africa – Minister
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed on Saturday said the recent agitation from Nigerians over the hike in fuel prices and electricity tarriffs is unnecessary at this period.
He said ot is better if the citizens embrace the new prices and hope for a better future where they can pay lesser as the increase will benefit the ordinary Nigerian in the long run
The minister made these remarks while meeting with online publishers in Lagos.
He also appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not to go ahead with its proposed industrial action scheduled for Monday.
The planned action, which is being organised as a protest against the increases, can only bring more hardship to ordinary Nigerians, Mr Mohammed argued.
“Ordinary citizens are not the beneficiaries of the subsidy on petroleum products that has lasted for years,” the Minister said, adding that the government can no longer afford the cost of the subsidy.
The Minister also argued that despite the increase, Nigerians still pay less for fuel, compared to neighbouring countries.
On electricity, Mr Mohammed said the hike will lead to increased quality in the supply of power, noting that the government cannot sustain its subsidy to the sector.
Again, he stressed that Nigerians still pay less for electricity, compared to people in neighbouring countries.
“We thank Nigerians for their understanding, and wish to appeal to
them to please bear with the government,” he said.
READ FULL TEXT OF THE MINISTER’S SATURDAY BRIEFING
TEXT OF THE BRIEFING BY THE HON. MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, DURING MEETING WITH ONLINE PUBLISHERS IN LAGOS ON SATURDAY, 26 SEPT 2020 ON THE RECENT INCREASES IN PETROL AND ELECTRICITY PRICES.
Good morning gentlemen, and thank you most sincerely for honouring our
invitation to this briefing.
2. As you are aware, the hike in the cost of fuel as a consequence of deregulation and the higher prices occasioned by service-based electricity tariff adjustment have led to various reactions, especially from organized labour which has threatened a nationwide strike. It has also led to accusation of insensitivity on the part of government.
3. I want to assure Nigerians, through you – gentlemen of the press – that the government is not insensitive to their plight. As a matter of fact, the full deregulation of the petroleum sector and the service-based electricity tariff adjustment will in the long run benefit the ordinary people
4. Let’s start with deregulation. Ordinary citizens are not the beneficiaries of the subsidy on petroleum products that has lasted for years. Between 2006 and 2019, a total of 10.4 trillion Naira was spent on fuel subsidy, most of which went to fat cats who either collected subsidy for products they didn’t import or diverted the products to neighbouring countries, where prices are much higher. Instead of subsidy, ordinary Nigerians were subjected to scarcity of petroleum products. They endured incessant long queues and paid higher to get the products, thus making the subsidy ineffectual.
5. Apart from that, the truth is that the government can no longer afford the cost of subsidy, especially under the prevailing economic conditions. Revenues and foreign exchange earnings by the government have fallen by almost 60%, due to the downturn in the fortunes of the oil sector. And there is no provision for subsidy in the revised 2020 budget. So where will the subsidy money come from? Remember that despite the massive fall in revenues, the government still has to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects.
6. Still on subsidy, as I said, from 2006 to 2019, fuel subsidy gulped 10.4 trillion Naira. That is an average of 743.8 billion Naira per annum. According to figures provided by the NNPC, the breakdown of the 14-year subsidy is as follows:
– – In 2006 Subsidy was 257bn
– In 2007 Subsidy was 272bn
– In 2008 Subsidy was 631bn
– In 2009 469bn
– In 2010 667bn
– In 2011 2.105tn
– In 2012 1.355tn
– In 2013 1.316tn
– In 2014 1.217tn
– In 2015 654bn
– In 2016 Figure Not Available
– In 2017 Subsidy was 144.3bn
– In 2018 730.86bn
– And in 2019 Subsidy was 595bn
7. The drastic fall in the revenues of the government explains why the government had to take certain tough decisions, even as it is acting to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown by adopting an Economic Sustainability Plan. One of such difficult decisions, which we took at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March – when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown – was the deregulation of the prices of PMS.
8. Recall that the benefit of lower prices at that time was passed to consumers. Everyone welcomed the lower fuel price then. Again, the effect of deregulation is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices. This means quite regrettably that as oil prices recover, there will be some increases in PMS prices. This is what has happened now. I am sure Nigerians will prefer to pay slightly higher for PMS than to queue for hours just to get the products at higher prices.
9. I also want to say that the effect of the changes in the international prices of crude oil on local fuel prices will not last forever. Modular refineries are beginning to come on stream in the country, and this will help lower the cost of petroleum products. Next month, the Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State, will be commissioned, starting with refining 5,000 barrels of crude per day and increasing rapidly to 50,000 barrels of crude. Many more modular refineries are also in different stages of completion across the
country, in addition to the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery. The deregulation will bring more investments into the sector, to the benefit of Nigerians,
10. Gentlemen, even with the increase in the price of fuel due to deregulation, PMS is still cheaper in Nigeria than in the neighbouring countries, and indeed in the entire West/Central African sub-regions. Here is a comparative analysis of petrol prices in the sub-regions (Naira equivalent per litre):
– Nigeria – 162 Naira per litre
– Ghana – 332 Naira per litre
– Benin – 359 Naira per litre
– Togo – 300 Naira per litre
– Niger – 346 Naira per litre
– Chad – 366 Naira per litre
– Cameroon – 449 Naira per litre
– Burkina Faso – 433 Naira per Litre
– Mali – 476 Naira per litre
– Liberia – 257 Naira per litre
– Sierra Leone – 281 Naira per litre
– Guinea – 363 Naira per litre
– Senegal – 549 Naira per litre
11. Outside the sub-region, petrol sells for 211 Naira per litre in Egypt and 168 Naira per litre in Saudi Arabia. You can now see that even with the removal of subsidy, fuel price in Nigeria remains among the cheapest in Africa. In the long run, deregulation will pay off and Nigerians will pay less.
12. Another issue we want to address here today is the recent service-based electricity tariff adjustment by the Distribution Companies, or DISCOS. The truth of the matter is that due to the problems with the largely-privatized electricity industry, the government has been supporting the industry. To keep the industry going, the government has so far spent almost 1.7 trillion Naira, especially by way of supplementing tariff shortfalls. The government does not have the resources to continue along this path. To borrow just to subsidize generation and distribution, which are both privatized, will be grossly irresponsible.
13. But in order to protect the large majority of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay cost-reflective tariffs from increases, the industry regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has approved that tariff adjustments had to be made but only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service. Under this new arrangement, only customers with guaranteed minimum of 12 hours of electricity can have their tariffs adjusted. Those who get less than 12 hours supply will experience no increase. This is the largest group of customers.
14. Government has also noted the complaints about arbitrary estimated billing. Accordingly, a mass metering programme is being undertaken to provide meters for over 5 million Nigerians, largely driven by preferred procurement from local manufacturers, and creating thousands of jobs in the process. NERC will also strictly enforce the capping regulation to ensure that unmetered customers are not charged beyond the metered customers in their neighbourhood. In other words, there will be no more estimated billings.
15. The government is also taking steps to connect those Nigerians who
are not even connected to electricity at all. As you are aware, under its Economic Sustainability Plan, the government is providing solar power to 5 million Nigerian households in the next 12 months. This alone will produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation, thus ensuring that more Nigerians will have access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.
16. Again, like PMS, despite the recent service-based tariff review, the cost of electricity in Nigeria is still cheaper or compares favourably with that of many countries in Africa.
HERE ARE COST IN NAIRA PER KWH IN SOME AFRICAN COUNTRIES.
– Nigeria 49.75
– Senegal 71.17
– Guinea 41.36
– Sierra Leone 106.02
– Liberia 206.01
– Niger 59.28
– Mali 88.23
– Burkina Faso 85.09
– Togo 79.88
TIMING OF THE PRICE INCREASES
17. Gentlemen, the timing of these two necessary adjustments, in the petroleum and power sectors, has raised some concerns among Nigerians and reinforced the false narrative that the government is insensitive
to the plight of the citizens. This is a mere coincidence. First, the deregulation of PMS prices was announced on 18 March 2020, and the price modulation that took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices.
18. Also, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July 2020 but was put on hold so that further studies and proper arrangements can be made. Like Mr. President said at the opening of the last Ministerial Retreat, this government is not insensitive to the current economic difficulties our people are going through and the very tough economic situation we face as a nation. We certainly will not inflict hardship on our people. But we are convinced that if we stay focused on our plans, brighter and more prosperous days will come soon.
19. We thank Nigerians for their understanding, and wish to appeal to them to please bear with the government. The deregulation of the petroleum sector will save the country trillions of Naira, which can then be used to provide modern infrastructures for the benefit of the people. It will also spur investments in the petroleum industry, especially in the building of local refineries which will result in lower fuel prices.
20. Also, the service-based electricity tariff adjustment and the ongoing work by German company Siemens to boost power supply in Nigeria will help end the perennial power problem in the country. Let me remind you that under the three-phase Siemens deal, Nigerians will enjoy 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by the end of 2021 (phase 1), 11,000 megawatts by the end of 2023 (phase 2) and 25,000 megawatts in the third phase.
21. Finally, we wish to appeal to organize labour to shelve its planned strike, which can only bring more hardship to ordinary Nigerians.
22 I thank you for your kind attention
#EndSARS: News of killed youths at Lekki toll gate fake – Gov Sanwoolu says no lives lost (VIDEO)
Governor Sanwo-Olu says there have been no fatalities recorded in the gunshot incident that occurred at the Lekki tollgate during the end SARS protest on Tuesday night, October 20.
Speaking at a press briefing this morning, Governor Sanwo-Olu said
”Whilst we pray for the swift recovery of the injured, we are comforted that we have not recorded any fatality as against the widespread circulation on social media.”
Watch Video below:
#EndSARS Protests: Makinde closes schools in Ibadan, deploys Operation Burst to hot spots
…says we can’t allow those with ulterior motive to hijack protests
…as govt unconditionally releases arrested protesters
Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has directed the immediate closure of all schools in Ibadan beginning from Wednesday, 21 October, 2020, in view of the prolonged #EndSARS protests rocking the state capital.
The governor, in a state broadcast aired on the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), stated that the closure of the schools will be reviewed on Friday, October 23, 2020.
The governor equally announced the deployment of operatives of the ‘Operation Burst,’ a state-backed security outfit comprising soldiers, men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigeria Police, to all flash points of violence in Ibadan, the state capital, to restore normalcy and maintain peace.
He further explained that the decision to close schools and deploy men of the ‘Operation Burst’ was a result of the new dimension the ongoing #EndSARS protest was taking, adding that hoodlums have started taking advantage of the protests to harass citizens, perpetrate uncivil acts and disturb residents from carrying out their legitimate businesses.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that Governor Makinde further noted that operatives of the ‘Operation Burst’ would continue to be on ground to protect legitimate and peaceful protesters, warning, however, that the state would not allow unscrupulous elements to hijack the protests and terrorise residents of the state.
He maintained that as part of the state government’s determination to protect peaceful protesters, it had earlier deployed operatives of the ‘Operation Burst’ to certain parts of the state to protect protesters, saying that the development enabled the protesters to express their legitimate grievances unhindered.
governor Makinde had, in the wake of the protests a little over a week ago, deployed operatives of ‘Operation Burst’ to Ogbomoso town to maintain peace following an outbreak of violence.
The outfit was also charged to take the responsibility of protecting protesters, while the police were told to step back from protest venues.
But in his broadcast on Tuesday, Governor Makinde expressed worry that some hoodlums had been preventing residents of the state from going about their lawful businesses in the name of the protests.
He asked residents of the state to dial the state’s emergency code 615 in the case of anyone trying to foment trouble or bar them from carrying out their legitimate businesses.
According to the governor, his government has shown that it is committed to redeeming the pledges he made while addressing the protesters last week, adding that as he promised, the Ministry of Justice of the state has withdrawn cases against arrested #EndSARS protesters, while those in custody have been released.
He added that the government has also set up platforms for reporting past and present incidents of police brutality and injustice, urging residents of the state to trust the process and rest, assured that justice would be done, rather than resorting to violence, which, he said, could be counter-productive to the cause of the protests against police brutality.
The governor said: “I address you at this time to talk about some of the issues that have been thrown up by the EndSARS protests in Oyo State. I have always said that peaceful protests are an important part of our democratic process, and that no one should be harassed or brutalised for protesting.
“For this reason, we deployed members of ‘Operation Burst’ to protect protesters. And we are happy to report that there have been no cases of disruptions of protest grounds in Oyo State since they started work.
“However, the past two days have seen a new dimension to the ongoing protests. Thugs and hoodlums have taken advantage of the situation to perpetrate uncivil acts and harass citizens who are going about their day-to-day activities. Some thugs are going as far as forcing people who have businesses open to close shop and join in the protests. We know these are criminal elements. And so, as a state, we must act to protect the citizenry.
“Therefore, we are deploying members of the ‘Operation Burst’ to various hotspots in Ibadan to arrest the situation and restore normalcy. The members of the team will continue to protect genuine protesters and their right to protest. But we cannot allow persons with ulterior motives to hijack the protests.
“We remain committed to the process of meeting the demands of these protests. Already, as promised, the Director of Public Prosecution, Ministry of Justice, Oyo State, has withdrawn cases against EndSARS protesters, and those in custody have been released.
“Also, the Oyo State Government has set up platforms for reporting past and present incidents of police brutality and injustice. This will naturally pave the way for the next steps in our quest to get justice for the victims. I urge the good people of Oyo State to trust the process that we have set up and rest assured that every case will be pursued to a logical conclusion.
“I have directed that all schools in Ibadan should be closed from tomorrow, Wednesday, October 21 2020 for the rest of this week. The situation will be reviewed on Friday, October 23 2020, and then further directives will be given.
“Please call 615 should anyone attempt to disrupt your legitimate business activities.”
Governor Makinde added that his government would continue to seek ways to engage with peaceful protesters, saying: “We will continue to seek ways to engage with peaceful protesters. Our plan is that in the shortest possible time, we can finally say the days of large-scale and wanton police brutality and injustice is a thing of the past.
“Let me also use this opportunity to call on members of the Nigeria Police Force to remain professional in the discharge of their duties as they will be held responsible for their actions.”
BREAKING: Security Operatives Fire Gunshots At #EndSARS Protesters In Lekki, (Video)
The Lekki toll gate area of Lagos is currently a state of pandemonium as security agents fired gunshots to disperse #EndSARS protesters.
According to reports gathered, there are some deaths and scores have been injured.
Protesters who were carrying the Nigerian national flag unharmed where seen undeterred even at the face of danger.
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