Expensive and in short supply. Angry Nigerians criticized their new government as they lined up to buy fuel in major cities in the country.
Pump prices have doubled, even trippled in some areas following an announcement by President Bola Tinubu that a subsidy which kept prices down was coming to an end.
Long queues were seen on Tuesday outside petrol stations in Nigeria, a day after newly inaugurated President Bola Tinubu announced the end of fuel subsidies in his first speech.
Oil-rich Nigeria swaps crude worth billions of dollars for gasoline that it then subsidises for its domestic market, causing a huge drain on revenue, foreign exchange and contributing to ballooning debt.
On Monday, Tinubu triggered a wave of panic when he declared that the “fuel subsidy is gone” after taking the helm of Africa’s most populous nation.
The previous government of Muhammadu Buhari budgeted the subsidies until the end of June, but it was unclear if that was when nationwide prices at the pump would rise, or if it would happen before.
“The reality is that from today the government can no longer afford to pay for fuel subsidies,” the CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mele Kyari told reporters on Tuesday.
He said the government needed to “settle up to 2.8 trillion naira (about $6 bn)… on subsidies.”
But he said that “some engagements are ongoing to bring relief to the people.”