Barely 24 hours after the announcement of the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol, has increased by 200 per cent in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

It was gathered most filling stations in the state capital were closed while the few that were open sold at between N620 and N635 per litre.

Long queues also returned in most filling stations owned by independent marketers while the major marketers were closed.

The National Vice President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Damian Okeke-Ogene, who expressed dismay at the development, said it would worsen the plight of the masses.

He stated that Tinubu’s statement was one of the cardinal campaign points of the new president.

Okeke-Ogene said the benefit of the fuel subsidy removal remained tiny to the understanding of the public, noting that its possibility and beneficial to the masses was not clear yet.

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“We heard there are lots of fraud being perpetrated in the oil subsidy but the effort of its removal by past administration under President Goodluck Jonathan was opposed by the opposition party of All Progressives Congress (APC) then.

“President Buhari’s government did not remove the subsidy; I wonder the rush by Tinubu. The new president should have necessary plans in place to cushion any hardship as a result of this action,” he told NAN.

Okeke –Ogene said after the pronouncement, filling stations stopped dispensing of the product, adding that the price had since tripled.

“We need to know the pros and cons associated with the suspension, whether the official pump price will rise from N194 per litre to N500 by government price while the private operators fix theirs at will.

“The purchasing power of Nigerians is very low, there is no increase in salaries of workers yet house rents are on the increase, school fees, electricity bills, transportation fare, cost of living are all in the increase, will the subsidy removal be added to the pain?.

“We hear that Fuel subsidy is killing Nigeria’s economy, costing it $10 billion alone in 2022. Nothing had been done to cushion expected hardship.

Also speaking, a trader, Fabian Chima, described the pronouncement as the worst mistake by Tinubu.

Chima said: “President Tinubu should have learnt from the experience of the Naira redesign which made life unbearable for many Nigerians.

”How will the masses survive with the increase in pump price of fuel occasioned by the subsidy removal?”

On his part, a private fuel station operator, Ugochukwu Okeke, said they hoped the new government would provide a friendly business environment for them to ensure that petroleum products would come to them at a reasonable cost to avoid hiking the product.

Okeke said the dealers would at all times wish to contribute their part in providing a happy state for the people knowing that the product was a social service but not to strangle their own business.

The Star



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