Residents of Benin City, the Edo State capital have decried the increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from N123.50 per litre to between N140.80 and N143.80 per litre.
Some residents, who spoke in separate interviews, said the N123.50 per litre of PMS was a palliative that both the rich and poor were benefiting from.
A businessman, Mr. Christopher Osazee, said it was a wrong time for the government to increase PMS pump price, as “the standard of living is still low in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we have observed that the price of PMS determines the price of other commodities in the country.
“Now that there is a 16.4 per cent increase in the pump price of PMS, prices of goods and services are sure to increase. We are appealing that the government should look inward and come up with better strategies on how to keep the petroleum sector booming during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A commercial bus driver, Mr. Timothy Osaro, said that the government should have given citizens more time to enjoy the reduction in pump price of petrol.
Osaro said the earlier reduction showed that the government cared about the welfare of citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we heard the reduction in the pump price in April and subsequent reduction in June, it brought relief to us because we were finding it difficult to make profit during the partial lockdown in the state.
“We were not expecting this increment because there is still hardship in the country. The filling stations have already adjusted to the new pump price of N143 per litre. But, when there was a reduction it took some stations two to three days to adjust,” he said.
A petty trader, Mrs. Tina Omage, appealed to transport operators to ease the burden on commuters.
“We are appealing to transport operators not to increase their transportation fares because of this new increase in pump price.
“We are aware that transport operators have already increased fares due to reduction in the number of passengers they are to convey to checkmate spread of COVID -19.
“The Federal Government should reconsider this move and let the masses continue to enjoy the former pump price of N123.50 per litre of PMS,” she pleaded.