***Assures no further hike in fuel price

Amidst the hike in the cost of living brought about by the removal of petrol subsidy which has led to a corresponding increase in fuel prices, the Presidency on Tuesday said Nigeria is currently the only country in West Africa enjoying the cheapest and most affordable price of PMS, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale told State House correspondents.

The presidential aide also noted that the daily consumption of fuel had dropped from 67 million litres to 46 million litres following the removal of subsidy.

Ngelale who stated that he spoke to President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday morning noted that the President urged stakeholders in the country to hold their peace while adding that the threats of an indefinite strike by the organised labour were premature.

He said, “The President wishes first to state that it is incumbent upon all stakeholders in the country to hold their peace. We have heard very recently from the organised labour movement in the country with respect to their most recent threat.

“We believe that the threat was premature and that there is a need on all sides to ensure that fact finding and diligence are done on what the current state of the downstream and midstream petroleum industry is before any threats or conclusions are arrived at or issued. Secondly, Mr. President, wishes to assure Nigerians following the announcement by the NNPC Limited just yesterday that there will be no increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit anywhere in the country. We repeat, the President affirms that there will be no increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit.”

Speaking further, the aide noted that the market having been deregulated would no longer allow a single entity to dominate the market.

“The market has been deregulated. It has been liberalised and we are moving forward in that direction without looking back.

“The President also wishes to affirm that there are presently inefficiencies within the midstream and downstream petroleum sub-sectors that once very swiftly addressed and cleaned up will ensure that we can maintain prices where they are without having to resort to a reversal of this administration’s deregulation policy in the petroleum industry.”

Ngelale also noted that Tinubu approved that the chart containing prices of PMS in other countries be transmitted to Nigerians so as to show the cost of PMS in West African countries.

“In the graphic, what you will find is the present cost of refined Premium Motor Spirit at the pump in each of the West African nations that border us and I’ll just name some for example, even as I know, you will be showing your audiences the graphics, which the President has graciously approved for public release today.

“Senegal at pump price today of N1,273 equivalent per litre; Guinea at N1,075 per litre, Côte d’ Ivore at N1,048 per litre equivalent in their currency, Mali N1,113 per litre, Central African Republic N1,414 per litre, Nigeria is presently averaging between N568 and N630 per litre.

“We are presently the cheapest, most affordable purchasing state in the West African sub-region by some distance. There is no country that is below N700 per litre.

“So this is the backdrop we have seen that at the inception of our deregulation policy as of June 1 as Mr. President took office, we have seen the PMS consumption in the country drop immediately from 67 million litres per day , down to 46 million litres per day. The impact is evident.”

He further said that the President pleaded with Nigerians to be patient and bear with his administration.

“What it also does mean though, is that we are not at the end of the tunnel. There is still a bit of darkness to travel through to get towards the light. And we are pleading with Nigerians to please be patient with us. And as we promised from the beginning, we will be open with Nigerians, and will be transparent with them. And we are ready to show you exactly what it is that our nation is facing with respect to the illiquidity in the market in terms of foreign exchange, as a result of what is now known to have been a gross mismanagement of the Central Bank of Nigeria over the course of several years preceding this time.”