Harder times for Nigerians as electricity bill hikes, food prices soar, fuel price skyrockets

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The Federal Government, on Wednesday, announced the immediate increase in the pump price of petrol to N151.56 per litre from N149, being the third increase in three months.

A statement by the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), informed oil depots owners of the hike.

“Please be informed that a new product price adjustment has been effected on our payment platform.

“To this end, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is now N151.56 kobo per litre.”

However, our correspondent found that the product prices have been adjusted already at many filling stations in Oyo State with some in Ibadan selling for N151 and 152/litre.

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Recall that, on Friday, 5th June 2020, the food sub-index released on month-on-month basis increased by 1.48% in June 2020, up by 0.06% points from 1.42% recorded in May 2020.

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This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of Bread and Cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other tubers, Fruits, Oils and Fats, Meat, Fish and Vegetables.

With Sokoto State (17.88%) recording the highest followed by Plateau (17.04%) and Abuja (16.82%), while Bauchi (12.86%), Ogun (13.18%), and Lagos (13.46%) recorded the slowest rise.

Just on September 2, among the varieties of problem and inflation, president Muhammadu Buhari only reacted to the surge in the prices of food which he attributed to the coronavirus pandemic and the ’corrupt’ middlemen(with many of them discovered to be foreigners) who are systematically creating an artificial scarcity so as to sell at higher prices. He, therefore, unleashed the ways in which his administration is trying to mitigate it.

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Emphasizing one of the ways, he said: ”I have just approved the release of food items from the strategic reserves, including 30,000 tons of maize to animal feeds producers to ease the high cost of poultry production.”

In the period of Nigeria’s inflation and economic meltdown, electricity bill too skyrocketed.

September 1 ushered in a new electricity tariff Electricity Distributing Companies (DisCos).

According to DisCos, the new tariff design proposes an upwardly adjusted tariff for customers who are not averse to paying more to enjoy longer hours of supply, standard voltage profile and faster fault clearance timelines.

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Meanwhile, Nigerians have begun to lament the sudden increase in every primary commodity especially in this pandemic that has plagued the world and rendered many jobless.

Nigerians, comprising transporters, entrepreneurs, workers and the unemployed, have expressed dissatisfaction over the increase in the price of food, electricity hike and fuel price increase.

In Ibadan, Abiola Dolapo, a minicab transporter said: “I don’t think it is a good idea not even at this time that people are suffering, there is no job, the country is in a big mess.

“It would further inconvenience the people.

“Government should not bring the idea.”

Yusuf Ahmed said the fuel price hike was coming a day after the electricity hike; coinciding with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cutting interest rate from 3.75% to 1.25%.

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“Meanwhile, we are enduring a food inflation of over 15%.”

Bukola Agboola, a consumer in Ogun State, said fuel price hike will only make life miserable for the masses and will affect all sectors because the people will start lamenting it to be the increase.

A cross-section of motorists and transporters who spoke to BRANDSPUR NIGERIA around Iwo road motor parks in Ibadan said the government’s action was insensitive.

“We are just trying to come out of COVID-19 lockdown.

“We haven’t even fully come out of it, and only what the government can do is to increase fuel price,” Agunbiade(surname withheld), one of the transporters said.

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Drivers now charge N2,550 from Ibadan to Lagos rising from N1,250 before the COVID-19.

“With the new fuel price, it may rise to N4000.”

In Kaduna, the residents are fuming over the increase.

While some blame the government, others are worried about the expected a spiradival increase in the prices of goods and services and a pitiable begging by many in the society because of their inability to feed or accomplish some basic things.

Anifowoshe David, who owns a laundry outlet in Challenge said, “We have not finished digesting the news of increase in electricity tariff, only for me to hear that the price of fuel has also increased.”

Mahmood Moshood, a commercial taxi driver also expressed dismay over the increase.

Even with the N148 per litre, we were finding it difficult to make ends meet not to talk about N151 again and I heard the independent marketers are going to sell at N162 and up to N200.”

In Lagos, Adefila Tunde, a transporter said: “I don’t think it is a good idea because people are suffering, there is no job.

“It would further inconvenience the people.

“Government should not bring the idea.”

Iya Arowolo, a popular staple food distributor in Gbagi market express disappointment in the government of Buhari saying that it is just moving from the frying pan into the fire.

”We all voted for Buhari in 2015 hoping that a miracle will happen to our economy in 2015 but here we are today. Everything has increased, the country is becoming inhabitable,” she added.

”The price of garri has doubled the price, and my customers are finding it very difficult to buy, the little I sell is even the grace of God, I rarely go to the market to restock because people are not buying. Sometimes, it leaves me wondering if Nigerians are still eating.”

Okechukwu(Not real name) said he’s not sure he will still remain in the country with the unbearable situation. I just hope that this pandemic will come to an end soon so as to begin the process of my leaving this ’doom’ country.

However, many have begun to circulate the pictures of when President Muhammadu Buhari was contesting the election and promising to improve electricity, pay graduates who are jobless N5000 monthly, among others with different hashtags on social media such as ’EnoughIsEnough’, ’Buhari resign’.

BRAND SPUR

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