Nigeria will not hike oil price as nationwide strike looms

Nigeria will not hike oil price as nationwide strike looms

Nigerian Labour Congress issued threat to strike indefinitely if government increases fuel price for 3rd time in 2 months

By Olanrewaju Kola

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AA) - Nigeria clarified Tuesday that it will not increase the price of petrol as tension rise following a threat by a workers union to declare a nationwide strike should authorities announce a new hike.

"We do not have the intention to increase our PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) pump prices as widely speculated,” the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) wrote on X.

The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ojaero, announced a decision Monday to embark on a "total, comprehensive and indefinite strike" should the government hike the price of petrol -- the third increase in two months.

In June, after President Bola Tinubu removed subsidy payments on the importation of petrol, the oil corporation announced an increase from an initial N198 per liter ($0.28) to N520 ($0.72). A new price of N630 ($0.98) was introduced in July.

Nigerians abandoned their cars and opted for motorcycles or bicycles Monday when they learned of a possible increase to N740 ($0.97).

"I've abandoned my car. I can't afford to spend N20,000 ($30) to work weekly. I go to work twice now with a motorcycle but my friend uses a bicycle due to the high cost of transport," Lawrence Edeh, a public worker in the nation’s capital of Abuja told Anadolu.

Nigeria, one of Africa's largest oil producers, has been relying on importation of refined crude for local consumption.

An energy expert in the Delta region attributed the frequent hikes to forces from the international oil market.

"Prices of crude have risen in the global market and we spend extra cost to import fuel. Nigerians will continue to pay more for fuel until we fix our refinery," Johnson Ajayi told Anadolu.

A university teacher and energy law scholar, Chukwudi Victor Odoem, said the current naira to dollar exchange rate was also responsible for the frequent hikes.

He urged the government to address the naira depreciation against the dollar in the exchange market. He said fuel price increases in Nigeria anytime the naira value against the dollar depreciates. He said importers use dollars to buy refined products on the international oil market.

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