Nigeria lowers oil price, seen as a sweetener ahead of presidential vote

Nigeria extracts around 2 million barrels of crude a day but imports most of its fuel as it does not have refining capacity.

AFRICA’S largest oil producer Nigeria announced a cut in petrol prices, a month before the country votes in presidential and parliamentary elections.

Oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke told an evening press conference that the price of a litre of petrol would drop from 97 naira to 87 naira (47 US cents) at midnight on Sunday.

The measure was taken with the approval and directive of President Goodluck Jonathan, a candidate in the February 14 polls, she said, taking into account the recent volatility in the oil market.

Nigeria depends on crude exports for 70% of government revenue and some 90% of its foreign exchange earnings.

With the historic fall in oil prices, Jonathan’s administration has had to introduce austerity measures and devalue the naira currency, directly affecting the standard of living for Nigerians.

Nigeria extracts around two million barrels of crude a day but imports most of its fuel as it does not have refining capacity. Subsidies are used to keep prices low at the pumps.

In late 2011, Jonathan tried to remove the subsidies, causing a general strike and mass protests, which saw them reintroduced but to a lesser degree.

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