The Minister of State for Petroleum, Doctor Ibe Kachikwu, has told members of the House of Representatives that the Federal Government had no other option than to increase the price of fuel.
He said that this was because of the diminished foreign exchange supply situation in Nigeria, which forced marketers to stop importation and imposed over 90 per cent supply on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation since October 2015.
Other factors which the Minister said necessitated the price hike, were significant decline in government’s foreign exchange revenues and renewed sabotage and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
Doctor Kachikwu, who attended a special session held by the lawmakers to quiz the Minister over the hike in price of petrol, told them that there was no provision for subsidy in the 2016 Appropriation Act and as at Monday, the fuel price of 86.50k gave an estimate subsidy claim of 13.7 Naira per litre, which translates to 16.4 billion Naira monthly.
He restated that they were left with no option than to liberalise the market.
Doctor Kachikwu explained that the new price band had gone into effect and that the market had stabilised in terms of product availability.
Earlier, the House of Representatives plenary degenerated into a rowdy session, as lawmakers of the People’s Democratic Party refused to allow the Minister to be admitted into the chamber.
The PDP lawmakers waved the National flag, singing protest songs and were hell bent on not allowing the Minister entry into the Representatives’ chamber.
After several minutes, other lawmakers prevailed on the PDP lawmakers to allow the Minister in for questioning.