Former Bayelsa state governor and minister of state for petroleum, Timipre Sylva says Nigerians will adjust to the new realities of a deregulated pricing regime for petrol, just like they did with kerosene and diesel which are as critical to the livelihood of millions of Nigerians.
The minister spoke with reporters at the State House shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday. He said the government could no longer cope with subsidising a commodity “that is mostly used by the elites.”
”The only explanation to everything we have said is that the country just could not afford subsidy anymore,” Mr. Sylva told reporters. “We will get by, I am sure when things stabilise, our earnings begin to improve, we will begin to see the benefits of what this government has done.”
Since the latest increment on the pump price of petrol, costs of basic commodities have cut deeply into the pocket of everyday Nigerians. On Monday, the statistics office reported October inflation worsened to 14.23 percent from 13.71 percent the previous month.
The rates reverberated through the food markets as costs of basic commodities such as bread, cereals, meat, fish, fruits, potatoes, yam and vegetables were sold at prohibitive prices.
According to the minister, the harsh economic realities being experienced in Nigeria spans across the globe.
“Let us first agree, that these are not the best of times not only for Nigeria but for the global community.
“What we have said over and over again as a government is that the government is no longer in the business of fixing pump price, that is the meaning of deregulation and stepping back on subsidy.
“Yes, we are very aware that this will result in some increase, but why do we have to do this, because it is clearly impossible for the government to continue to subsidise”, the minister said.
Poverty level in Nigeria has continued to rise in the last few years as cost of living escalate following the rise in the prices of essential goods and services.