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Why fuel subsidy can’t be removed – Esele

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Why fuel subsidy can’t be removed – Esele

Why fuel subsidy can’t be removed – Esele

Mr Peter Esele, a former president of the Trade Union Congress, has underlined citizens’ distrust of government and its incapacity to react to the demands of the masses as important reasons why Nigeria’s fuel subsidy cannot be removed.

Esele also described the Federal Government’s proposed 18-month deferral of the implementation of subsidy removal as “kicking the can down the road,” saying that the major political parties had failed to demonstrate clearly how they would handle the nation’s oil and gas industry.

He said, “When we have this gap, it becomes very difficult for the government. The government has not done what it is supposed to do. That’s why we are having these challenges. Nigerians are wondering what would happen to them and the economy if the subsidy is removed.

“The government is promising many things but there is that communication breakdown and the lack of trust between those in authority and the citizens. The two major political parties must be asked what they intend to do about subsidy and it would make it easier for the people to vote.

“So, the deficit we have had since 1999 is that we have not really had political parties that have policies cast in stone or what they intend to do with the oil and gas. What we have at the moment is more ad hoc.”

The former TUC leader, however, warned that the delayed implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act would affect investors’ confidence.

He said, “Now, they have the PIA and they are asking that it should be delayed for implementation. What that would do is it would affect investors’ confidence. Those who want to invest in the downstream sector would also back off.

“This policy flip-flop makes it difficult for businesses and investors. So, we are in a catch-22 situation. Whether we remove or not, there must be critical thinking.”

Esele also wondered why the Nigeria Governor’s Forum raised the alarm over the management of the subsidy regime by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited when approvals for deductions from the Federation Account could not be done without the consent of the states.

He added, “The governors cannot talk like ordinary men on the street. The governors have a right to know what is happening in the NNPC and they can use the various instruments of law to make the NNPC bring its accounts for them to see. The governors didn’t tell us this three or four months ago. We are hearing this now because the payment of subsidy will be maintained.

“I think they are looking for an institution to take the blame. The NNPC is not perfect but it is the only one importing petroleum products. We should also ask why the private sector is not bringing in petroleum products. If there is a level-playing field where other people can bring in petroleum, then you can hold the NNPC accountable. The governors need to go beyond talking to acting. It is one thing to say certain things in public and another thing to actually do the work.

“The governors are too political and that affects them. Nobody has the right to take money from the Federation Account without the approval of the federation, which includes the state governors, but if the governors are keeping quiet about it, it is not for them to come to the press and accuse the NNPC.”

The post Why fuel subsidy can’t be removed – Esele appeared first on NEWS.

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Aminat Aigbe

Aminat Aigbe is the first lady of afronaija and a very good blogger ( Original Mrs AfroNaija )

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