by Garba Shehu, written January 19, 2015 in TheEagle,
The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation has describedSunday night’s sudden slash in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, as a panicky political measure far too short of the people’s expectation and contrary to the 50 per cent relief suggested by the Muhammadu Buhari Team.
Mallam Garba Shehu, the Director of Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign, said in a statement in Abuja on Monday that “the Jonathan-led PDP government is beginning to listen to public outcry about bad governance, extortion and exploitation of the Nigerian masses in the oil sector where billions of naira are daily being ripped off the pockets of the common men and women through inaccurate pump prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene, despite the dwindling world market prices of these products”.
Shehu also faulted both the decrease ratio of N97 to N87 and the timing of the announcement by the Federal Government as “politically motivated, ill-timed and too little, too late”.
He noted that “the PDP has run out of ideas for the presidential campaign and has resulted to raking straws from inertia ponds”, adding: “This measure is not different from the President’s belated visit to a few places in the North East, a region which has been ravaged and devastated by Boko Haram’s brigandage, a situation to which the number one citizen seemed to be oblivious of until recently.
“The oil price decline is 55 per cent and the cut in the pump price is 11 per cent. The argument is that devaluation which is approximately 10% should be factored in. However the timing and the inadequate price cut smacks of incompetence, insincerity and desperation.
“The US has witnessed price cuts in excess of 50 per cent from $4 to $2 which translates into 50c per litre or N60 per litre including state taxes. How can petrol in the US be 25 per cent cheaper than in Nigeria? It just does not make sense. This is too little too late. The alternative will be to further reduce petrol prices and overhaul the subsidy system which is a cesspool of fraud, money laundering and imperfect market structures.”
Shehu questioned the motive and justification for a mere N10 cut in petrol price considering that global price of crude oil per barrel on which the pricing of petroleum products is predicated, has plummeted from $105 to $50.
He added: “How did they calculate the ratio? Aside, if the new price took effect from 18th January, 2015 what happens to the backlog that has existed since December? Will the Minister and her boss give coupons to Nigerians to fill their tanks to make up for the arrears? Or who is benefiting from this windfall?” Shehu queried, warning “any attempt by the ruling party to make a political gain out of this natural economic phenomenon of demand and supply would definitely hit the wrong notes with the voters come February 14.”