Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, blamed the critical financial situation in the country that forced the government to increase the cap on the gasoline price from about N86.5 to N145 per liter (by 67%).
Addressing newsmen upon completion of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetig at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday, the minister described Nigeria as “broke, pure and simple”.
The move was necessary to attract private importers, who will recover their costs and help end fuel shortages that have persisted for months.
He said: “The current problem is not really about subsidy removal. It is about that Nigeria is broke. Pure and simple.
It is like somebody who has been earning N100,000 a month and he is faced with a situation where his employer says henceforth you will be earning N10,000 a month. He would need to make some very painful decisions and some very painful adjustments.
That is the situation with Nigeria today. A few months ago, we were earning as much as $100 for every barrel of crude. We no longer have the resources, the foreign exchange to bring in refined fuel products. And our economy is shrinking.
We appreciate the fact that the decision is going to affect everybody. We appreciate what we are going through, but Nigerians should also know that the government has the responsibility at times to take very difficult decisions. So, it is not always about popularity.”
The briefieng was also attended by Mr Abubakar Malami, the attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Mr Babatunde Fashola, the minister of power, works and housing, and Dr. Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment.