President Bola Tinubu says he “understands the hardship” Nigerians have gone through since the removal of the petrol subsidy.
Tinubu, who addressed Nigerians in a nationwide broadcast on Monday, said there was no other way to save the economy but to pull the petrol subsidy.
The president announced the removal of the petrol subsidy in his inaugural speech on May 29.
The decision has led to an increase in the pump price of petrol and a hike in the cost of living in the country.
On Wednesday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) described some of the policies made by the administration as “anti-poor” and “insensitive”, with a seven-day ultimatum given to the federal government to reverse them.
Speaking on the situation, Tinubu acknowledged that the “economy is going through a tough patch” due to petrol subsidy removal.
He added that if there were other ways to address the economic issues without making the decision, “I would have taken that route as I came here to help, not hurt the people and nation that I love”.
Tinubu promised to “reduce the burden our current economic situation has imposed on all of us”.
“Our economy is going through a tough patch, and you are being hurt by it. The cost of fuel has gone up. Food and other prices have followed it,” the president said.
“Households and businesses struggle. Things seem anxious and uncertain. I understand the hardship you face. I wish there were other ways. But there is not. If there were, I would have taken that route as I came here to help, not hurt the people and nation that I love.
“What I can offer in the immediate is to reduce the burden our current economic situation has imposed on all of us, most especially on businesses, the working class and the most vulnerable among us.”