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My Thought On Fuel Subsidy - Politics - Nairaland

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My Thought On Fuel Subsidy by olawalebabs(m): 2:59pm On Dec 20, 2011
I will like to give my little contribution to the raging issue of fuel subsidy removal by the federal government. Many articles, news commentary, features have being written in the subject matter, fault and blames have been pass, I only think and believe that this is not the right time for that, as we (Leaders and Followers) are at faulty one way or the other. The government has embark on many campaign to inform and educate the citizens on the suppose benefits of the policy, while the anti subsidy removal have also marshal their point well and brilliantly.
One thing is clear, those for and against have a cogent and brilliant reasons to marshal their stand, I only hope superior argument and reasoning should always have the way when such national discourse comes to fore.
Firstly, government argument that some “cabal” are gaining from the subsidy rather than the people sound defective. Government is set up to protect the general interest of the citizens and not to make them suffers. You don’t because you want to punish few, inflict untold hardship on the majority.
Lack of sincerity on the part of government is also another factor, past and present government has always deceived the people. In the aspects of goodwill, most Nigeria government lacks it. This alone will counter any ’good plan’ the government wishes to embark on. This is what will work against the argument of channeling the savings from the subsidy removal a little bit defective. My archives shows that the subsidy on diesel have been remove since 2002 i.e the price we buy diesel at the filling station is the competitive market price, Can the government points to any developmental projects the saving have been channel to? What assurance do we have that the fate that befall diesel will not also affect Petroleum? , What palliative measures are in place for the citizens to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.
I beg to disagree with the whopping trillion of naira the government are brandishing as the amount spent for subsidy this year, if the testimony of NNPC GMD is anything to go by. He said that Nigeria refinery operates at 60% installed capacity (he said it under oath), this will translate to roughly 25,000 liters per day (combining the four refineries), this figure represent over 50% of our daily local consumption of 40,000 liters, this leaves us with daily importation of 15,000 liters, do the calculation and let see what is out and where the problem is from.
Another pertinent problem is this, how can a major exporter of a product make it citizens’ pays through their nose to consume same product locally. In the OPEC countries, Nigeria is paying the highest price for the consumption of the product locally. Have we forgotten the lectures the Venezuelan ambassador tutors us sometimes ago? How can we be in the middle of a sea and be using spit to clean our face? Food for thought for all of us.
Something maybe morally wrong but politically right, the policy of fuel subsidy removal may be economically right but id it politically right?> is the environment conducive for such s sensitive policy? Can we contain the aftermath of such event or occurrence? Don’t we think the Arab spring may also have a bandwagon effect with us? These are pertinent questions to be ask. Though they may not be economically viable to retain the ‘subsidy’, but it is politically necessary and needed and should not be overlook. If Libyan can revolt against Ghaddafi government in spite of turning his country into ‘paradise’, who say that can’t happen in Nigeria?
Another argument I found hard to believe his coming from the pro subsidy removal campaigner is that Subsidy removal is another way of taxing the rich to benefits the poor, I found it hard to believe this. Is it not the poor that buy petrol to power their generator (don’t forget the epileptic power condition), the rich make use of diesel to power their Mikano generator. Is it not the poor that buy petrol to power their “Okada”, the rich make use of diesel to power their motor bike. Give us another crab.
After all lamentation, what is the way out. Let’s start from what causes the government to subsidizes the price of petrol in the first instance. The failure to have local production that can cater for our local consumption, If we can adequately produce for our local consumption, there won’t be any need for importation which will attract the subsidy. Therefore, the government should look for way to either revamp the existing refineries or build ne ones, who say it is not possible, if our brother Niger can get it right, what stopping us from doing the same. I know people will ask how we get the fund. This is where strategic thinking comes into play, Government should strategically spread the removal off this subsidy for a period of 2 to 5 years, they may decide to remove 30% in the first year, another 30% in the second year and the remaining 40% in the third year. This way they will be able to have enough fund to finance whatever project they want to finance, while the citizens will not bear more pains, and all this will be achieve in the life of this present administration (this will be a plus for them). Thank God, you don’t pay contractors up front, you pay them gradually and instalmentaly.
Our lawmakers should also endeavour to make expedite action on the PIB Bill otherwise known as the local content bill, this will encourage the local input and consumption in the sector. Above all, government needs sincerity of purpose and political will to go about such plan. God bless Nigeria.

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