The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC to shelve its planned strike, which according to him can only bring more hardship to ordinary Nigerians.
The Minister who stated this during a meeting with online publishers in Lagos said that the recent full deregulation of the petroleum sector and the service-based electricity tariff adjustment which led to hike in fuel price and electricity tariff will, in the long run, benefit the ordinary people.
Speaking on the deregulation, Mohammed said ordinary citizens are not the beneficiaries of the subsidy on petroleum products that have lasted for many years, adding that a total of 10.4 trillion Naira was spent on fuel subsidy between 2006 and 2019.
According to the Minister, the government can no longer afford the cost of the subsidy given the prevailing economic conditions due to the downturn in the fortunes of the oil sector.
He stated that the drastic fall in the revenues of the government explains why the government had to take certain tough decisions including the deregulation of the prices of PMS.
The Minister, however, revealed that PMS is still cheaper in Nigeria than in the neighboring countries and in the entire West-Central African sub-regions despite the increase in the price of fuel due to deregulation.
On the issue of the new electricity tariff, Mohammed said the government has spent almost 1.7 trillion Naira on the electricity industry due to the problems with the largely-privatized electricity sector.
He said that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has approved that tariff adjustments had to be made to protect the large majority of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay cost-reflective tariffs from increases.
The Minister stressed that only customers with a guaranteed minimum of 12 hours of electricity can have their tariffs adjusted while those who get less than 12 hours supply will experience no increase under the new arrangement.
He said the government is providing solar power to 5 million Nigerian households in the next 12 months thereby producing 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation.