Fuel subsidy removal not immediate— Tinubu
By Adekola Afolabi,
& Kayode Afolabi
Less than 24 hours after the newly inaugurated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy in the country, petrol stations across many states, including Ondo state on Monday began hoarding of the product and created artificial scarcity.
Many of the fuel stations which were earlier selling the product to customers before the announcement horridly shut down their stations, telling customers that they have exhausted their stock.
The long queues were also as a result of panic buying in an effort to beat anticipated price increase.
President Tinubu had said during his inauguration: “On fuel subsidy, the budget I met before I assumed office and what I heard is that there is no provision for subsidy. Fuel subsidy is gone”.
However, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Media Centre said the removal of the fuel subsidy by Tinubu on Monday does not mean an immediate removal.
The Centre, in a statement issued on Tuesday, also urged the public to relax panic-buying that has ensued as a result of his speech.
The statement explained the development is neither a new development nor an action of his new administration.
The Tweet reads: “The public is advised to note that President Bola Tinubu’s declaration that “subsidy is gone” is neither a new development nor an action of his new administration.
“He was merely communicating the status quo, considering that the previous administration’s budget for fuel subsidy was planned and approved to last for only the first half of the year.
“Effectively, this means that by the end of June, the Federal Government will be without funds to continue the subsidy regime, translating to its termination.
“The panic-buying that has ensued as a result of the communication is needless; it will not take immediate effect.
“Furthermore, President Tinubu was clear about his plans to re-channel the funds previously devoted to the payment of subsidies into better investments that will cushion the effects of the removal on the general public, especially the poor of the poor. This includes but is not limited to investments in public infrastructure, education, healthcare and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions of Nigerians and increase their earning potential.”
The situation became worse on Tuesday when virtually all petrol stations which have the product refused to open for business.
The few fuel stations selling the product increased their pump price and were selling as high as N250 and N300 per litre.
Two petrol attendants in Akure who abruptly stopped dispensing fuel said the ” order is from above” and that they cannot flout it because they are not the owner of the filling station. The attendants spoke on condition of anonymity.
A manager of one of the fuel stations in Akure, Mr kunle Emmanuel, condemned those hoarding the product to create artificial scarcity, saying the removal of fuel subsidy has not affected the product already in their dumps.
He called on marketers to open business and not to cause unnecessary hardship to residents.
In Ondo town, there was also a sudden hoarding of the product in order to hike the price as soon as president Tinubu declared that fuel subsidy is dead.
Many of the stations visited were either closed or selling PMS at N300 and above with people struggling to buy the product.
The hoarding and hike in price of PMS has already affected transport fare by motorcyclists who increased their fares by one hundred percent.
Reacting to the development, a human right activist, comrade Akindolie Bolawa blamed the situation on marketers hoarding the product in other to maximize profit while inflicting pain on the people.
His words:”We are already in a crisis in Ondo town right now. The queues are scattered all over the community. Some of the stations are already selling above N300, N400 when the subsidy has not been removed. It has also led to inflation in the cost of transportation this morning and we are not okay with it.”
“The filling stations are still selling fuel that they have bought before but chose to increase the price because the newly inaugurated president said subsidy is going to be removed. They should wait till subsidy is removed before increasing the price. We are calling on the government to come to our aid at this moment because it is going to affect every other aspects of our livelihood.”
In Ore, headquarters of Odigbo Local Government, fuel scarcity also biting hard.
Our correspondent gathered that there were long queues at some filling stations visited.
Effort to speak with NUPENG Chairman, Ore branch on the development proved abortive as at the time of filing this report
Report from Ondo North Senatorial District said long queues have started appearing in most of the filling stations in the area.
In Owo, price of petrol still sells for amount ranging from N250 to N300 while queues are gradually appearing in the petrol sales outlets.
Reports from Ikare indicated that most of the stations in the town were locked up and not selling the product while one filling station is said to be selling at N500 per litre.