Last Sunday, my mum had returned from church to tell me that she bought fuel for N75 per litre at the petrol station as against the normal N65 on her way back. I had thought that probably it was because of the artificial scarcity (The petrol stations were hoarding fuel) over the weekend and that by Monday it would have returned to normal. I was proved wrong as all the stations I passed on my way to the office had N75 boldly displayed on the price boards.
I could only shake my head as I pondered on the situation : Which kain country be dis abeg? How can they increase fuel pump price by N10 just like that without any warning?? How do they want the common masses to cope??? Why did Obasanjo decide to do this just when he was about leaving???? These questions ran through my mind.
Just last week, the federal government had increased VAT (value added tax) from 5% to 10%. We were just trying to come to terms with that and next thing, WHAM! this increase in fuel price.
The VAT we pay is supposed to be used for the development of the country and to better the life of the people by providing them basic necessities of life like water, food, electricity good roads e.t.c, Is this too much to ask for?? Unfortunately the reverse is the case in Naija. The VAT goes into the pockets of some greedy, wicked few while the people that pay this VAT continue to suffer. Now tell me, what is the justification for the increment in VAT???
The government has given its own reasons: “Some other African countries like Ghana are paying more than 5% VAT bla bla bla “. And so what? Are they not better off than we are? I mean I don’t have issues if we pay 10% and they use the money to affect the lives of the people positively but no they wont do this, yet they talk about other countries. Does Ghana not enjoy steady electricity?? Can we boast of having power supply for up to 5 hours in a day in this country??? The roads nko? God! That one is another story.
The painful thing is that this increase in fuel prices is going to affect a lot of things, that’s if it hasn’t already. Transportation cost will rise because the bus driver will pay more for petrol, Consumer goods and food prices will go up because the market woman will pay more to transport the foodstuff to the market. The purchasing power of the poor masses will decrease since nobody is increasing their income. Dat one no be suffer on top suffer??? MTN has already started subscribers a text message saying they are increasing call rates cos of the VAT increase, who know what will be increased next.
U see now why that +N10 is plus more hardship on Nigerians whose backs are already bent to breaking point by the callous people we have been unfortunate to have as leaders.
As we usher in a new dispensation, I pray that we shall soon begin to sing a new song. People are already calling on Yar’adua to revert to the old fuel pump price. If he is a wise man, he will do this as it will endear him to the hearts of Nigerians and win him lots of goodwill but if he will rather be greedy and uncaring then na him sabi, anything he gets, let him take.
Naija people are survivors and we will definitely survive this one by God’s grace. Amen!