The Group Marketing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has reacted to the outburst over the recent increase in fuel price.
During an interview on Wednesday, he said: “the outburst is very understandable but I also believe very strongly that it is misplaced because Nigerians are not aware of the opportunities lost”.
He further explained that the issue of subsidy has been a big issue in the country for many years but the government can no longer afford it because of the economic problems facing the country.
“And not only that, every corruption that you are aware of in the downstream industry is one way or the other connected to fuel subsidy,” the NNPC boss added.
“It is very understandable for people to get angry that prices have gone up. Just like the prices of every commodity, when it goes up, there can be difficulties and challenges that people will naturally face but once prices go up, the other natural thing that must happen is that your income needs to increase so that you are able to procure the things that are now delivered at higher prices.
“You can’t do this anywhere in the world if there is no productivity.
“And there will be no productivity except there is growth in infrastructural development, industries are able to work, therefore, and there is a connection between production and consumption.
“When people get angry, this is coming from people who practically are not aware of this situation and they are not aware of the loss that they have and most importantly they are being engineered into making those statements, and we understand this perfectly.
“We are the national oil company, it’s our role to ensure energy security. But you can’t do this until you are able to deliver cost. And that cost is lost daily as prices of crude oil goes up and you are unable to do many things.
On the state of the nation’s refinery, Mr Kyari explained that plans are on the way to rehabilitate the four major refineries to maximum capacity.
According to him, this plan is expected to place Nigeria as the world’s biggest exporter of oil in the next three years.
The increase of fuel price and electricity tariff has sparked outrage with various groups holding nationwide protests across the country.
On Tuesday, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) said it was no longer going to be releasing price bands for the sale of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS/petrol) at filling stations.
The agency reiterated that the price will now be fully based on the forces of demand and supply.
“It is based on bargain power,” the General Manager (Admin and Human Resources) of the PPPRA, Victor Shidok, said. “It is based on where you source your products.”
However, he noted that the government will ensure customers are protected from price-gouging and other ills associated with free markets.
“You could have a regulator that always stand and remain a watchdog to see how these forces are being played out, how the interest if both operators and consumers are being taken care of,” he said