The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, in his Independence Day broadcast to Nigerians on Thursday morning, while addressing various issues facing the country, further justified the increase in the price of petroleum.
An excerpt from President Buhari’s Independence day address reads:
“Fellow Nigerians, I speak to you today as your President and fellow citizen on this epoch occasion of our country’s 60th independence Anniversary.
“As President, I wish to renew my appreciation to Nigerians for entrusting me with your hopes and aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria.
“Today, it is my unique privilege to re-commit myself to the service of this great country of great people with profound diversities and opportunities. We are bound by destiny to be the largest and greatest black nation on earth.
“At this stage in our nationhood it is important that we reflect how we got here to enable us work TOGETHER to get to where we aspire to be as a strong indivisible nation, united in hope and equal in opportunity.
“Fellow Nigerians, in addition to public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, we have suffered a significant drop in our foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues
“… due to 40 per cent drop in oil prices and steep drop in economic activities, leading to a 60 per cent drop in government revenue.
“Our government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in face of drastically reduced resources.
“In this regard, sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible.
“The government, since coming into office has recognized the economic argument for adjusting the price of petroleum. But the social argument about the knock-on effect of any adjustment weighed heavily with the government.
“In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.
Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre.
A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point;
“a.Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre
b.Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346.
c.Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.
“Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.
“Fellow Nigerians, to achieve the great country we desire, we need to solidify our strength, increase our commitment and encourage ourselves to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching.
“Fellow Nigerians, let us collectively resolve to continue our journey beyond the sixty years on the clear understanding that as a nation we are greater together than being smaller units of nationalities.
By the special grace of God we shall come through any transient challenges.
“It is my sincere hope that by the end of this anniversary on September 30th 2021, we will all be proud of taking this individual and collective self-assessment for the progress of our great Nation.
“Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
God Bless us all. Thank you.