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Nigeria lost $1.3 bn during eight-day strike – bureau

ABUJA (AFP) – Nigeria lost $1.3 billion (1 billion euros) during a crippling strike over a fuel price hike, the national statistics bureau said on Wednesday.

“It is estimated that the nation lost 207,408 million naira during the eight-day strike,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

The strike began on January 9 and shut down Africa’s most populous nation while also bringing tens of thousands on to the streets.

The wholesale and retail sector was the worst hit with losses of about 87 billion naira, or 42 percent of the total losses, it said.

The oil and gas industry was next with losses of 28.7 billion naira. The sector accounts for more than 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings from oil.

The strike and protests were suspended on Monday after President Goodluck Jonathan reduced the price of fuel per litre from 141 naira to 97.

The government ended fuel subsidies on January 1, causing petrol prices to more than double from 65 naira per litre to 140 naira or more.

Most in the country of some 160 million people live on less than two dollars a day, and Nigerians weary after years of blatant corruption view the subsidies as their only benefit from the nation’s oil wealth.

Meanwhile, the Composite Consumer Price Index (CPI) — which measures inflation — rose 10.3 percent year-on-year in December, fractionally lower than 10.5 percent recorded the previous month, the NBS said.

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