Petrol Price Reduction: A Greek Gift
One of the roles of government especially in a capitalist democracy is to protect its citizens from what Karl Marx described as the evil of Capitalism by regulating prices of commodities and service. Although, Nigeria whose political economic arrangement pitched its tent for a -little- to - the - right and a - little - to - the - left. This arrangement conditioned the presence of both private and public set-ups. Of the two dominant ideologies, it is obvious that capitalism under the control of capitalists are known for extorting any additional increment in the pay of its workers but what shall we say then when the supposed-be - protector of the proletariats have formed alliance with the extortionists or better still have taken up the role of capitalists or rent-seekers?
It is not up to five months when the Nigeria's workers jubilated as a result of the upward review in their pay. The joy was greeted later with increment in value added tax (VAT) in almost all areas of their economic lives as prices of food commodities and services skyrocketed anging from call and text messages charges, electricity bill, deposits and withdrawal charges are on the way.
To crown it all, another jubilation erupted in hearts of the Nigerian populace when in midst of rapid drop in the global crude oil price per barrel, our government decided to reduce the pumping price of fuel from 145 naira to 120 naira. With this development it is pertinent to take a little intellectual journey on the fuel prices politics right from General Yakubu Gowon's regime to President GoodLuck Ebele Jonathan's administration.
Yakubu Gowon: in 1973, petrol price was risen from 6kobo to 8.45k
Murtala: In 1976, petrol was risen from 8.4k to 9k
Obasanjo: In October 1, 1974, petrol price was risen from 9k to 15.3k
Shagari: On April 10, 1982: petrol price was risen from 15.3k to 20k
Buhari: Never touched that price of fuel
Babangida: on March 31 1986 petrol price was risen from 20k to 39.5k
Babangida: On April 10, 1988 petrol price was risen from 39.5k to 42k
Babangida: on January 1 ,1989 petrol price was risen from 42k to 60k
Babangida: On March 6 , 1991 petrol price was risen from 60k to 70k
Shonekan: on November 8, 1993 Petrol price was risen from 70k to N5
Abacha: on November 22 , 1993 petrol price dropped from N5 to 3.25k
Abacha: on October 2, 1994 Petrol price was risen from N3.25k to N15 (3 times of the initial price before reduction in November 1993 by the same regime).
Abacha : on October 4 , 1994 petrol Price dropped from N15 to N11 ( after wide condemnation).
Abubakar : on December 20 , 1998 petrol price was risen from N11 to N25
Abubakar :Jan.6 1999 petrol price dropped from N25 to N20
Obasanjo : on June 1 ,2000 petrol price was risen from N20 to N30
Obasanjo: June 8 ,2000 petrol price dropped from N30 to N22
Obasanjo: Jan. 1 2002 petrol price was risen from N22 to N26
Obasanjo : June to Oct. 2003 petrol price was risen from N26 to N42
Obasanjo: May 29 2004 petrol price was risen from N42 to N50
Obasanjo : August 25 2005 petrol price was risen from N50 to N65
Obasanjo : May 27 2007 petrol price was risen from N65 to N75
Yar'Adua : June 2007, petrol price dropped from N75 to N65
Goodluck : January 1 2012 petrol price moved from N65 to N141
Goodluck : January 17 2012 petrol price dropped from N141 to N97
Goodluck : in January 2015, petrol price drop from N97 to N87.
In May 2016 within President Muhammad Buhari's one year anniversary, fuel scarcity hit Nigeria and petrol price was N350 to N200 in some petrol station in Nigeria after which it was pegged at N145 with the excuse given by The Vice President, Professor Yomi Osinbajo that Nigeria was broke.
From the above, Buhari during military regimes is the only Nigeria Leader from Gowon regime who never touched price of fuel while Yar'Adua was the only leader who never increase rather he reduced it from N70 to N65. But from what is on ground now, I can infer that what happened on May , 2016 during the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari when petrol price was pegged at 145 naira after strike action. Going by the rate at which global oil price is dwindling and Nigeria's economy getting fatigue every day, the same excuse may be given as I see that the joy of this reduction in the fuel price will be short lived before the expiration of six months which subsequently welcome another increment in the price and no doubt will definitely be above the initial 145 naira per liter.
From the foregoing, it will be a wise thing, for Nigerians to start preparing their mind for another period of fuel scarcity as a result of increment in the pump price. But the question is: if the government is planning to increase petrol price after some months why reduce it or is the reduction a kind of coronavirus relief measure for the populace which will not attract another indirect hardship on the citizens sooner or later?