The Federal Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will soon announce measure to deregulate the petrol market as the NNPC plans to Deregulate and Increase Petrol Price to N110 per litre, According to government sources, this will cause NNPC petrol prices to rise to N110 per litre and the same sources allege that senior union officials have already been courted about the controversial move.
The federal government will deregulate the downstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum industry in the near future, according to a News Agency.
Nigerians may have to brace up for a minimum of 27.17% hike in fuel price nationwide, the officials said.
The policy, they say, is likely to push the pump price of petrol to about N110 per litre at NNPC-owned filling stations and higher at other independent outlets.
Amid fears of a possible backlash reminiscent of the reaction by Nigerians in January 2012 when former President Goodluck Jonathan attempted to introduce a similar measure, no formal announcement will be made.
The fuel scarcity crisis has forced Nigerians into desperate measures
Industry sources familiar with the plan said government was on the verge of discreetly giving permission to petroleum products marketers to gradually adjust their pump prices as early as midweek to signal the formal take-off of deregulation in the country.
The sources, who asked not to be named, said the government resorted to that drastic decision to end the vicious cycle of fuel scarcity crises and avoid subsidy payments.
Unlike the situation in 2012, the sources said government appeared to have successfully wooed organised labour and affiliated unions to its side.
The General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Peter Ozo-Eson, said he could confirm nothing about the issue.
Insiders well briefed on the matter said top level secret meetings had been going on all week to weigh the security implications of the possible fallouts of the policy.
One of the meetings was held at the headquarters of the State Security Service in Abuja where the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, met with heads of security agencies to finetune possible security response should Nigerians pour into the streets to protest the policy.
Official spokespersons for key petroleum industry agencies were evasive when asked for comments Sunday afternoon.
The last time petrol prices rose so much strikes dominated the country
NNPC spokesperson, Garbadeen Mohammed, said reports of the planned introduction of deregulation by government were new to him.
Full deregulation policy, which involves opening up the downstream petroleum industry for participation by all players, particularly the private sector, is considered by market experts as the panacea for the incessant fuel supply crisis in the country.
In the past, January 2012, the NLC successfully mobilized Nigerians to shut down the country’s economy for five days to oppose the attempt by the Goodluck Jonathan administration to remove fuel subsidy, which resulted in hike in fuel prices nation wide. That action by labour forced government to rescind its decision on the issue.
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