Nigerians have slammed President Muhammadu Buhari over his statement that it makes no sense for Nigeria to sell petroleum products at prices lower than it is sold in Saudi Arabia and other neighbouring countries.
Buhari, while delivering a speech on the occasion of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary at Aso Villa, Abuja, on Thursday morning, stated:
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.
Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point.
Chad, which is an oil-producing country, charges N362 per litre. Niger, also an oil-producing country, sells oil at N346 per litre. 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.
Nigerians, who seized the occasion of Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary to air their displeasure over what has become of the country under the Buhari-led administration, stated that it was wrong for the president to compare Nigeria to Saudi Arabia and other countries where petrol sells for a higher price.
Today, Buhari justified his oil price surge by citing Saudi which charges N168 and said “It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.”
But he forgot to mention that the minimum wage in Saudi is R3,000 which is N305,126.
Pay N305,126. We’ll pay N168.
— Bulama Bukarti (@bulamabukarti) October 1, 2020
This comparison with Saudi Arabia and other countries really doesn't make sense. Do they buy fuel for generators everyday? Do they drive on bad roads? Our standard of living is NOT the same. Very irrational comparison.
— Wale Adetona (@iSlimfit) October 1, 2020
In their argument, they reminded Buhari that the minimum wage in Saudi Arabia is over N300,000, while the Nigerian government pays N30,000; an amount which is yet to be implemented in various states of the federation.
They further stated that Saudi Arabian nationals enjoy constant power supply and good living condition while the reverse is the case in Nigeria.
Nigerians, however, promised the president that they will wholeheartedly pay the current pump prices if the Federal Government pays the same minimum wage as Saudi Arabia.