Lai-MohammedMinister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made the plea on Monday, May 16 while speaking to journalists in Abuja.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has urged labour leaders in the country to shelve plans to strike on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in protest of the recent fuel price increase.

Mohammed made the plea on Monday, May 16 while speaking to journalists in Abuja.

“For instance, the United Arab Emirates, the third-biggest oil producer in OPEC, has become the first country in the oil-rich Persian Gulf to remove transport fuel subsidies. In addition, the country has announced that with effect from August 1, 2016, fuel prices will be deregulated,” the minister said according to ThisDay.

“Also, in response to fiscal pressure caused by the fall in crude oil prices, OPEC’s top oil producer Saudi Arabia has announced a plan to raise fuel prices. You can now see that this is indeed a global problem.

“The truth is that the NNPC does not have the resources for, nor is it designed to meet this increase in supply. The result is the crippling fuel situation across the country.

“Pushed to supply 90% of the products required for domestic consumption, the NNPC has continued to utilize crude oil volumes outside the 445,000 barrels/day allocated to it, thereby creating major funding and remittance gaps into the Federation account.

“As I said earlier, there is no provision for subsidy in the 2016 Appropriation. The erstwhile PMS price of N86.50 gives an estimate subsidy claim of N13.7 per litre which translates to N16.4 billion monthly. There is neither funding nor appropriation to cover this.

“Let me also note that the resultant fuel scarcity has created an abnormal increase in price, resulting in Nigerians paying between N150 and N300 per litre as prevalent hoarding, smuggling and diversion of products have reduced volumes made available to citizens.

“In the absence of available forex lines or crude volumes to continue massive importation of PMS, it is clear that unless immediate action is taken to liberalize the petroleum supply and distribution, the queues will persist, diversion will worsen and the current prices will spiral out of control,” he added.

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