Nigeria's Rocky Effort to Wean Itself From Subsidized Fuel
Nigeria faces an uphill battle in removing fuel subsidies that kept gasoline cheap, but critically hampered the country's development.
President Goodluck Jonathan delivered an unwelcome New Year's Day surprise to the public when he announced the elimination of Nigeria's fuel subsidy, which kept gas prices artificially low, at about $1.50 per gallon (40 cents per liter). In short order, fuel prices more than doubled.
"When they removed the subsidy, I immediately had problems filling my tank," said Bola Thomas-Davis, a pharmaceutical sales representative in metropolitan Lagos (map). "My coverage area is really wide; I have to visit places that are all over. Before, I never had to think about gas, but now, I haven't been to the farthest outposts in two months."
The price hike sparked protests and a general labor strike in a country already reeling from Christmas Day