Atiku, NACCIMA, Others Knock FG over Petrol Price Increase

Atiku Abubakar

Chuks Okocha, Udora Orizu in Abuja, Dike Onwuamaeze in Lagos, Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA); Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); ActionAid Nigeria; and the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), have kicked against the recent increase in the pump price of petrol by the federal government.

Reacting to the petrol price hike, NACCIMA declared that the decision of the federal government to commence the implementation of the increase in the price of petrol and the introduction of cost reflective tariffs for pricing the cost of electricity simultaneously to raise public revenue would increase “the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

A statement issued yesterday by the Director General of NACCIMA, Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, stated that “it is the position of the NACCIMA that the decision of the federal government to increase the price of petrol through the product price adjustment by the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) and to commence the implementation of Cost Reflective Tariffs for pricing the cost of electricity as well as numerous policies implemented across the federal and state levels of governments to bolster revenues, will serve only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.

“We reiterate our counsel that government at all levels should resist the urge to tax or place an economic burden on the citizenry but adopt policies that will stimulate economic activities by creating a regulatory environment that encourages citizens to take up productive activities in larger numbers.”

Olukanni said that it is with some trepidation that NACCIMA has noted that the “implementation of two policy decisions in the space of a week will negatively impact the consumption and productive capacity of Nigerians amidst the prospect of the worst economic recession in 40years as stated in the World Bank Report, ‘Nigeria in Times of COVID-19: Laying Foundations for a Strong Recovery.’”

The NACCIMA advised the governments to “shift their focus from lump-sum taxation (or any economic policy with a similar effect) to consumption taxes, as this will allow for the appropriate environment for a quick recovery from economic recession.”

Also reacting to the issue, the Ekiti State chapter of the PDP, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of President Muhammadu Buhari is worse than the military government with the brazen manner it hiked the price of petrol without consideration for poor Nigerians.

The party’s factional Chairman in Ekiti, Hon. Bisi Kolawole, said the action was an eye opener for Nigerians to vote for the PDP in the 2023 election to put a halt to the maladministration and sufferings being inflicted on them by APC government.

But the APC through its State Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ade Ajayi, said the PDP was not competent to brand the ruling party as being militaristic, saying Buhari has been devising ways to clear the mess left by 16 years of PDP’s misrule in the country.

Kolawole, who responded via the party’s State Publicity Secretary, Raphael Adeyanju, in Ado Ekiti, on Wednesday, described the action coming during the COVID- 19 crisis as “wicked, inhuman and militaristic in nature”.

“This is an eye opener for all Nigerians that the APC government was a mistake. It should be voted out in 2023, because no power is greater than the will of the people.

ActionAid Nigeria has also condemned the hike in the price of fuel as it said the action could further heighten insecurity in the nation and further explosion of crisis.

A statement by the humanitarian non-governmental organisation working to combat poverty and all forms of injustice in Nigeria, said it is working with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other stakeholders to protest the hike.

The statement quoted the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi as saying: “ActionAid Nigeria will be working with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and relevant stakeholders to amplify the voices and demands of the common man. The fuel hike is a disappointing move at this time.”

On his part, Atiku said that the time for the increase was wrong.

In his verified tweeter handle, the former vice president said: “I reject the increased electricity tariffs. Coming out of the lockdown, Nigerians need a stimulus, not an impetuous disregard for the challenges they face”.

He continued, “Many Nigerians have not earned an income for months, due to no fault of theirs. This increase is ill-timed and ill-advised.”, he stated.

Also, he tweeted on the deregulation of the price of the petroleum product, saying, “The federal Government finally withdrew from the fuel subsidy and price-fixing fixing bazaar that had been rife with corruption and installing investments.

“This is something patriots have been asking for and for which I was demonised for”, Atiku stated.

CUPP has also said it is mobilising its members, activists, civil social organisations, opposition lawmakers to reach a nationwide consensus for civil mass action over the increment in pump price of petrol and electricity Tariff.

CUPP in a statement issued yesterday by its spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere also rejected the hike, describing it as senseless, insensitive and wicked in its entirety.

It called on the federal government to rescind the decision with immediate effect or face legal action and mass protest.