Reporter : UCHE NDEKE
Reactions have continued to trail the increase of petrol pump price by the Federal Government. According to some respondents in Awka, Anambra State, the hike will cause more economic hardship for the masses, who are trying hard to cope with the realities occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
The Federal Government through the Petroleum Product Marketing Company (PPMC) on Tuesday September 1, announced increase in pump price of fuel from one hundred and forty eight naira to one hundred and fifty-one naira fifty-six kobo per litre.
Few hours after the development, almost all the filling stations in the state immediately adjusted their pump price to between #160.00 and #165.00 without giving their usual excuse of finishing their old stock before adjusting to the new price as was often experienced whenever there was a downward review of pump price.
The situation, according to some respondents, is not a healthy decision and portrays the present administration in bad light. One of them, a Civil Society activist, Prince Chris Azor, described the hike as irrational and unfair policy against the masses, who, he said, were still striving to cope with the economic realities occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
Prince Azor said the new pump price no doubt affected every other sector and in turn had its toll on millions of citizens. The National Vice President, Radio, Television, Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU), South East Zone, Prince Emeka Kalu, said the announcement came at a time when other countries of the world were rolling out economic measures to cushion the effect of the novel Coronavirus disease on their citizens.
He added that it was very unfortunate and showed insensitivity on the part of government. A motorist and resident of Nibo, Mr. Mike Okotie, expressed fear that the situation would not only amount to increase in transportation fare but would have its toll on the general affairs of the poor masses. For Iyom Tina Igbasi, though the Federal Government had the right to make policies, there was the need for it to always carry out wider consultations through relevant organisations like the National Orientation Agency (NOA), to enable it get reactions from the grassroots before coming up with some decisions. Other respondents condemned the attitude of petroleum marketers for being too quick to adjust their pump price even above the amount announced by the PPMC