The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria says the removal of the petroleum subsidy by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2012 is better than the one done by the current regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The President of PENGASSAN, Festus Osifo, said the circumstances surrounding the recent increase in the cost of fuel are far worse those of 2012
Osifo said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme which was monitored by our correspondent.
Jonathan had in January 2012 removed fuel subsidy which caused nationwide protests especially in Lagos where thousands of people poured into the streets to express their displeasure.
Responding to a question on Friday, however, the PENGASSAN President said removing the subsidy in 2012 was actually a better decision because it had a lesser effect on the people.
He said increasing fuel price in 2020 in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic and a worsening economy could worsen the suffering of the people.
Osifo further stated that PENGASSAN and other stakeholders were not carried along.
When asked if 2012 was a better time to increase fuel price, Osifo said, “I think the timing today is even more problematic compared to 2012 because we are battling a pandemic. I can tell you that for a lot of households their income has diminished; a lot of businesses have been shut down since March.
“I can tell you that today, Nigerians are facing hardship. I believe that 2012 was a bit better than it is today because the pandemic has ravaged the average household in Nigeria. You have seen the recent figures from the National Bureau of Statistics. We are actually in negative GDP. By the next quarter, we could be in recession. This is not the right time to have done this.”
Osifo noted that functional local refineries remained the best solution to fuel price hike.
He, however, said, for the time being, the government must do everything possible to alleviate the suffering of the people.
“This was not the right time to do such a thing because we are battling a global pandemic. This is the era where the real wage of workers has diminished. This is an era where we are entering a recession and other parts of the world and citizens are being supported with palliatives. I think this is not the best time to have done this,” he added.