By Ayodele Oluwafemi
President Muhammadu Buhari’s comparison of prices of premium motor spirit (PMS) in Saudi Arabia and some neighbouring African countries has stirred many Nigerians talking on social media.
Buhari, in his broadcast message, on Thursday, to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary, defended the recent hike of fuel price from N148 to N160.
The President argued that Nigerians pay less for petrol than oil producing nations like Saudi Arabia, Chad, Niger, Ghana and Egypt.
Buhari said, “Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point:
“Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre, b. Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346. c. In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.
“Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.”
Many Nigerians have taken to the social media to disagree with Buhari on his comparison of fuel prices in other countries.
Some argued that the president failed to consider the standard of living and minimum wage in Saudi Arabia, before drawing the distinction.
They also opined that if Saudi Arabia is the template for comparison in terms of fuel price, it should be done across all sectors of the economy.
The recent hike in fuel price has been heavily criticized by many Nigerians.
The FG has argued that it was necessary to remove the fuel subsidy, in order to use the money for other development project.
However, Nigerians are asking if they are meant to be carriers of the burdens of increment in electricity tariff, Value Added Tax and prices of goods and services.