May 18, 2024

We’ll Shut Down Nigeria If Petrol Price Rises Again – NLC

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By Our REPORTER, pub-3120625432113532, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to shut down the country if there is further hike in the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol from the existing N617 naira.

This was made known by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, while speaking at the African Trade Union Alliance Meeting in Abuja, where Labour also warned against undermining the demands of the union.

Oil marketers had indicated that the cost of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, would rise to between N680/litre and N720/litre in the coming weeks should the dollar continue to trade from N910 to N950 at the parallel market.

They also hinted that dealers seeking to import petrol were being forced to put the plans on hold due to the scarcity of foreign exchange to import the commodity.

The warning came barely one week after the local currency crossed the N900/dollar ceiling, with the naira selling at over 945/dollar at the parallel market on Friday.

Speaking with journalists on the phone last Thursday, the National President of IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, said since the removal of subsidy on petrol by President Bola Tinubu’s government, fuel pump price is no longer determined by the government but by the market forces and dollar to naira exchange rate.

Regarding speculations that the pump price of petrol could rise to N1,000 by December, the IPMAN boss said he could not determine the exact amount the fuel price would get to.

Okoronkwo, however, noted that as long as the dollar keeps rising in the foreign exchange market, the price of fuel in the country will continue to skyrocket.

“Nigerians are aware that there is no more subsidy and we have gotten into a new season where the market fundamentals are the ones playing the major role.

“So, we need to see how we can get an alternative as a panacea to the fuel price increase. Members of IPMAN use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and we believe it is the best alternative. The pressure on the naira is so much and the international market dictate is also not helping matters.

“If we can aggressively direct our attention towards Compressed Natural Gas, it will be a solution to fuel price hikes. It will also quench the pressure of the dollar on the naira,” he said.

According to Okoronkwo, as the dollar rises against the naira, fuel pump prices will continue to go up because marketers buy the product in dollars.

Last Wednesday, the naira dropped further to the dollar as it exchanged at N782.38/$1 at the official market and 910/$1 at the parallel market.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) which is the country’s major oil marketer in July announced that the pump price of petrol had increased to at least N617 per litre.

On whether fuel pump price will rise to as high as N1,000, Okoronkwo said, “I don’t have control over it. Market fundamentals are the ones to determine but the only thing we can do to take the alternative which is Compressed Natural Gas.”

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