The Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed, has said that the Federal Government increased the price of fuel to raise money to run the system, since the country is currently broke.
In recent times, the Government of Nigeria had complained that foreign earnings had drastically reduced and that the only way out of its present financial quagmire was to look inwards to generate more money.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, the Information Minister said the government took a painful decision by increasing the pump price of petrol from N86.50 to N145 per litre.
His words: “The current problem is not really about subsidy removal. It is that Nigeria is broke. Pure and simple!
“It is like somebody who has been earning N100,000 a month and he is faced with a situation where his employer says henceforth you will be earning N10,000 a month. He would need to make some very painful decisions and some very painful adjustments. That is the situation with Nigeria today.
“A few months ago, we were earning as much as $100 for every barrel of crude. In the months of February and March, we were short of…so, we no longer have the resources, the foreign exchange to bring in refined fuel products. And our economy is shrinking. We appreciate the fact that the decision is going to affect everybody.
“We appreciate what we are going through, but Nigerians should also know that the government has the responsibility at times to take very difficult decisions. So, it is not always about popularity.”
Also speaking, Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige denied allegations that government was encouraging labour factionalisation by negotiating with both Ayuba Wabba and Joe Ajaero factions at separate meetings to forestall the strike.
“We are ready to discuss with anybody on the way forward on this issue.” Ngige said.
He disclosed that the Federal Government has agreed to meet some of the demands of labour which include the reconstitution of Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Board in the next two weeks.
Ngige also explained that a 15-man committee has been set up to look at the demands of labour.