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May 31, 2023

Subsidy: Commuters groan as transport fares increase, petrol sells for N700 in Abuja

Subsidy removal

Pic.5. Motorists queue to buy fuel at NNPC Filling Station in Abuja on Wednesday (31/5/23). 01868/31/5/2023/Jimah Suleman/NAN

…many employees threaten to resign from their jobs

By Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja

FOLLOWING the announcement of fuel subsidy removal by President Bola Tinubu, during his inaugural speech as the 16th President of Nigeria, there has been an exponential increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS in across Abuja.

The resultant effect of this declaration increased PMS that sold for N165, N200 thereabout to about N500, N700 and N1000, in Abuja and its neighboring state, Nasarawa.

This is even as NNPC Limited has confirmed the full deregulation of the downstream sector of the Nigerian Petroleum Industry with petrol now selling at a market price following the announcement of Mr President.

The statement read: “NNPC Limited wishes to inform our esteemed customers that we have adjusted our pump price of PMS across our retail outlets, in line with the current market

“As we strive to provide you with the quality service we are known for, it is pertinent to
note that prices will continue to fluctuate to reflect market dynamics. We assure you that NNPC Ltd. is committed to ensuring the ceaseless supply of products. The Company sincerely regrets any inconvenience this development might have caused. We greatly appreciate your continued patronage, support and understanding through this time of change and growth.”

With this hike, our correspondent who spoke to some of the commuters, involving students, traders, drivers and Bankers, gathered that the new reality may cause a lot of havoc as an increasing unemployment rate in Nigeria, destroying businesses, and frustrating commuters, among others.

An employee of a major phone repairs and sales hub in Abuja, Chinaza Marcus, blamed Tinubu for her frustration, adding that she may quit should the present reality persist.

She said: “It is not funny at all. Everything was going somehow right before now and when the new president came it, it’s now looking like we have gone back to square one. How can a president who has not even sat down and monitored things just announce something he is ignorant about?

“Before now, from my house to work, where I work was 300 to 400 naira but now I transported N1500 from Kubwa where I stay to my working place. Which kind of thing is that? How much do they pay me? Is it N20,000 that I will be using such a huge amount of money to transport myself?? Please the government should the what is right and allow the poor masses to continue with their daily lives.”

Another male employee, Omotosho Tobi, said there was no way he could cope with the high transportation cost, saying that: “my monthly salary is just a little above N20,000 and they expect me to be using N2000 transport to work every day going and coming? In total it is N4,000. Please, I don’t work with NNPC or one big company that pays in dollars. I am just a you g boy hustling and the Government should understand that.”

Bemoaning the current hike in PMS price, a driver, Danjuma Martins, who spoke to our correspondent, said “I honestly thought the implementation of the removal of fuel subsidy is until much later. I didn’t know that petrol stations including NNPC will swing to action.

“This was not really considered because many passengers think we want to take their money or take advantage of the situation. I personally have been having serious issues with passengers since morning. I can do business for less than the capital I invested. I bought fuel for over a thousand naira this morning at a fuel station around Wuse, so what are they telling me?”

Another driver who simply identified himself as Henry while commending Tinubu over subsidy removal, said: “The decision of President Tinubu is good for Nigeria, and will ensure things are done properly. It will not only help the economy of the nation to stand again, but it will also reduce criminals from stealing our commonwealth. Drastic actions like this is needed for a completely bastardized country like Nigeria. Yes, people will suffer, but it is for the good.

“I am also being affected but I understand what’s going on. Nigerians should just give it a little time and things will go fine. Passengers are bitterly complaining. For example, from Wuse to Nyanya before today it was N200 but things have increased to N600 and may also increase more at night.”