Following the recent increase in the price of Petroleum Motor Spirit, known as petrol, as a result of the removal of subsidy, Lagos State Government has advised residents of the state against panic buying and hoarding of fuel.
The State Government also urged residents to stop patronising black marketers, saying with the new regime on petrol, market forces would determine the prices.
Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat spoke on Friday during an on-the-spot assessment of some filling stations in the Ikoyi area of the state.
Speaking to journalists during the exercise, Hamzat said there was no need for panic buying and hoarding of fuel as marketers have assured the government of the availability of fuel in the state.
He noted that the essence of the tour was to go around and see the situation of things, noting that the challenge was not the scarcity of fuel but the price that has increased.
Hamzat implored Nigerians to embrace the deregulation, adding that the advantage of the subsidy removal outweighs its effects.
He said, “In terms of volume, according to the managers of fuel stations visited, we have enough so there is no need to rush to buy. There is no need to patronise black marketers.
“The regime of fuel subsidy was announced to have ended. Lagos is always the epicenter of everything, 40 percent of cabs are in Lagos, and whatever affects PMS, affects Lagos. So the essence is to go around and assess the situation.
“For us, it is to make sure that there is no scarcity, people don’t need to rush. Prices have gone up but in terms of volume, there is enough volume. So there is no question of scarcity.
“Don’t patronise black marketers. The bottom line is very simple because there is no regime of fuel subsidy again. People don’t have the incentive to hoard anymore. It was sold for N185 in Nigeria and the Republic of Benin selling for N650. That is why we claim the volume is high, so the volume will crash.”
Hamzat added that revenue generation has been a major challenge in the country, noting that the recent subsidy removal would afford the government the opportunity to divert the funds to other sectors.
Citing the International Monetary Fund, the Deputy Governor reiterated that the fuel subsidy was not sustainable, noting that the subsidy benefited less than 13 percent of the entire population while 87 percent were left out.
He said, “There are 48,000km of borders in Nigeria, even if you deploy the military, the Navy, people will steal because we are talking of the market, we are subsidising fuel for other countries.
“Various commentators and the IMF have told us we are spending trillions subsidising substantially rich people because we are spending on 13 percent of the less privileged and 87 percent for people who can afford it. It doesn’t make sense.
“So if we can plow that money back, then it makes it easier to invest in education, health, and others. So the President will be able to harness it and be able to use it for various projects.”
The Deputy Governor also noted that the government was aware of the effect of the removal because it will affect transportation prices and commodities but in the long run, things will get better.
“I understand that the transportation fares have gone higher but the only thing is that it will get a little tougher before it gets better. Remember, the prices in Lagos will be different from Ibadan. And even in Lagos, because of efficiency, prices will differ but you are not subsidising anybody’s inefficiency.
“It is a question of time, in just two or three months, things will stabilise. So, if the international prices crash, they will also crash. Competition will always make it crash, market forces will determine the prices,” he said.
Speaking during the on-the-spot assessment, managers of the fuel stations visited assured the Deputy Governor that there was enough fuel, therefore, there was no need for the populace to panic.