HOWEVER, SPN INSISTS THAT PETROL PRICE CAN BE REDUCED TO BELOW N100 IF OIL SECTOR IS NATIONALISED UNDER DEMOCRATIC WORKERS CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT
* SPN ALSO DEMANDS THE REDUCTION OF THE PRICES OF KEROSENE AND DIESEL!
The Federal government through the NNPC has on Wednesday 18 March 2020 reduced the pump price of petrol from N145 to N125 as a result of the collapse of crude oil prices on the world market and the attendant reduction of landing cost of refined fuel products. The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) welcomes the reduction of petrol price from N145 and demands that this be immediately enforced at all petrol stations across the country.
However, we insist that given the worsening economic indices, this reduction is too little to assuage the suffering of working people and ordinary Nigerians who rely on petrol-powered means of transportation and to power generators in a country ravaged by chaotic and broken transport infrastructure and poor electricity supply. We are also concerned that concrete price reduction has not been said by the government about kerosene which is also imported and is even more widely used by working class and peasant households for cooking. At the moment, a litre of kerosene sells for about N320.47. The SPN hereby demands the immediate reduction in the price of kerosene and diesel.
Our argument concerning the paltry nature of the reduction of the pump price of petrol is very clear. For instance, the minimum wage at the moment is a paltry N30, 000 – an amount whose purchasing value has further plummeted given the crash in the value of Naira and inflation. This means an average working class household will still need to spend as much as half of the national minimum wage on petrol either to power generators or as transport cost to work on a monthly basis. This is an unacceptable paradox in a country which is the sixth largest exporter of crude oil in the world.
According to the Cable online news medium, data made available by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency on Monday says that landing cost of petrol is now N64.32 (18 March 2020). This means that at the new price of N125 per litre, Nigerians are still to pay an extra N60 per litre to cover the profit of middlemen and profiteers masquerading as essential service providers in the value chain of fuel distribution. This is unacceptable!
The SPN strongly believes that petrol price can go far below N100 per litre if the NNPC is democratically controlled/management by workers and consumers, middlemen profiteers are removed and the entire oil sector is nationalised under public democratic control and management by the working people. Under this pro-people arrangement, public refineries under workers’ democratic management will be established to ensure that the country’s fuel needs are met by local refining, prices of petroleum products sustainably remain affordable to all Nigerians while exporting refined products in order to further increase revenue.
Worse still, a N20 reduction in petrol price is not likely to reflect in the reduction of transport fares by commercial transport operators which would mean that at the end of the day, the reduction in petrol price will not fundamentally reduce the burden of workers and poor people in an economy that is on the brink of another recession given the ravages of the Corona virus which has affected global production activities and the price of crude oil.
We therefore insist on further reduction in the pump price of fuel, kerosene and other petroleum products to reflect the actual state of the economy and the condition of the working people. We demand immediate crash programme to build new public refineries, invest and revive all the refineries to work optimally under workers democratic control and management. Ultimately, only the public ownership of the oil, power and other major sectors of the economy under democratic workers control and management can meet the energy needs of all Nigerians as well as ensure that Nigeria’s crude oil actually serves as a blessing to the working people and not a curse as it presently is.