President Muhammad Buhari made it clear that his administration can no longer afford to pay for subsidized premium motor spirit (Pms) known as petrol.

Which essentially means that the price of petrol at the pumps will henceforth be determined by market forces of demand and supply.

On September 2, 2020, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) announced that petrol will now be dispensing for N151 per litre at gas stations, up from N145 per litre which might still increase.

In March, the price dipped to N121 per litre due to the crash in global oil prices occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic and shutdowns of entire economies.

In May, the price was reviewed upwards to N125 per litre.

Between June and July, the price of petrol had returned to between N140, N143 and N145 per litre.

Social media users, opposition political parties and civil rights groups have kicked against the new price regime of N151 per litre or N162 per litre, as citizens groan under the weight of a hike in electricity tariff, double-digit inflation and an economy still reeling from the damage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Buhari has however said the subsidy era should be considered gone for good because the federal government can no longer afford to bear the weight of subsidies.

“There is no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, simply because we are not able to afford it, if reasonable provisions must be made for health, education and other social services. We simply cannot sustain petroleum subsidy,” the president said.

Ending the subsidy regime was always going to be a politically dangerous move — a string of rebounds in global oil prices could rouse the opposition and test the administration’s resilience.

Previous attempts, noticeably in 2012, to wean Nigerians off cheap gasoline led to major anti-government protests on the streets.

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