he Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has told members of the House of Representatives that the Federal Government had no other option than to increase the price of fuel.

He said that this was because of the diminished foreign exchange supply situation in Nigeria, which forced marketers to stop importation and imposed over 90 per cent supply on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) since October 2015.

‘No Provision For Subsidy’

Other factors which the Minister said necessitated the price hike, were significant decline in government’s foreign exchange revenues and renewed sabotage and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.

Dr. Kachikwu, who attended a special session held by the lawmakers to quiz the Minister over the hike in price of petrol, told them that there was no provision for subsidy in the 2016 Appropriation Act and as at Monday, the fuel price of 86.50 gave an estimate subsidy claim of 13.7 Naira per litre, which translates to 16.4 billion Naira monthly.

He restated that they were left with no option than to liberalise the market.

Kachikwu explained that the new price band had gone into effect and that the market had stabilised in terms of product availability.

The NNPC would no longer resort to federation barrels and would endeavour to meet its obligation to pay FAAC 100 percent of its entitlement from the 445,000 barrels per day in the coming months.

Earlier, the House of Representatives in a rowdy session as lawmakers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) refused to allow the Minister to be admitted into the chamber.

The PDP lawmakers waved the National flag, singing protest songs and were hell bent on not allowing the Minister entry into the Representatives’ chamber.

After several minutes, other lawmakers prevailed on the PDP lawmakers to allow the Minister in for questioning.

Dr. Kachikwu on May 11 announced a new price band of 145 Naira per litre of petrol, but the increase drew mixed reactions, with the labour union saying it will resist the increase.

— Okorochukwu Ikechukwu ( Correspondent)s