Rising Cost of Diesel, Cooking Gas Worries Lawmakers
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Lawmakers in the lower chamber of the National Assembly have expressed worry over the outrageous rise in the cost of diesel and cooking gas, launching an investigation into the cause.
At the plenary on Tuesday, a member of the House of Representatives from Imo State, Mr Chike John Okafor, moved a motion to look into the matter, warning that “if the ugly trend of the increasing price of diesel is not checked, the multiplier effect will spell doom for Nigeria’s economy.”
He stated that almost all businesses and households in Nigeria depend on diesel-powered generators as an alternative source of electricity and because of the current situation, the disposable income of consumers could be reduced as a result of “inflationary pressure,” thus making it impossible for average Nigerians to meet their basic needs.
According to him, the price of Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) was between N280 and N350 per litre three weeks ago, but at the moment, it is sold above N780 per litre and still rising on a daily basis accounting for over 115.4 per cent increase within the period.
He reminded his colleagues that the Nigeria Mainstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) was created in August 2021 in line with the Petroleum Industry Act with the mandate to provide effective regulatory oversight, ensure sufficient product distribution and supply at an equitable and fair price.
In 2009, diesel was deregulated with an initial price of N100 per litre, and from 2009 to date, Nigerians have witnessed a rising percentage increase in the price of the product;
Mr Okafor informed the House that the hike in the cost of diesel is alleged to be the handiwork of unscrupulous stakeholders in the industry, and is tantamount to economic sabotage, causing untold hardships for Nigerians as it will result in an increase in the prices of food as well as other goods and services.
He urged the green chamber to quickly address the issue before things get out of hand and in responding, the Speaking of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Gas Resources to investigate the outrageous rise in the prices of diesel and cooking gas in the country and give a report in six weeks’ time.