Nigeria lowers fuel price, no deal with unions

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 16, 2012 1:09 AM
Nigeria lowers fuel price, no deal with unions

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said on Monday petrol prices would be reduced to 97 naira ($0.60) a liter, a week after nationwide strikes and protests began against the government's decision to scrap fuel subsidies.

Tens of thousands took to the streets for strikes over five successive days last week in protest against the sudden removal of a fuel subsidy on January 1 that more than doubled the pump price of petrol to 150 naira per liter from 65 naira.

Jonathan, who met unions late on Sunday to try and find a compromise to end strikes that are due to resume on Monday, said the talks had "yielded no tangible benefit" and pledged to continue along the path of removing subsidies.

"Government will continue to pursue full deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector. However, given the hardships being suffered by Nigerians, and after due consideration and consultations ... government has approved the reduction of the pump price of petrol," he said in a statement.

Jonathan has ordered an investigation into government departments operating the subsidy and said a long-delayed oil bill that has been stuck in parliament for years would now receive "accelerated attention". ($1 = 161.9600 Nigerian nairas)

(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Ralph Gowling)