Africa-Press – Nigeria. Days after the inaugural speech of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu during which he announced the suspension of fuel subsidy, diverse reactions have continued to trail the development.
In Osun State, Governor Ademola Adeleke has already set up a task force to checkmate hoarding of the commodity and inflation of prices.
Within the week, the Osun Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, arrested seven officials of fuel stations for refusing to sell PMS to customers.
Cost of transportation has, however, soared as distances that were previously charged for N100, have gone up to between N150 and N200.
DAILY POST sought the reaction of some stakeholders on the development.
While some hailed the decision and praised it as long overdue, some chided the President for being too hasty.
They noted that certain modalities should have been put in place to cushion the expected hardship from the announcement.
Adekola Adebowale – TUC Chairman, Osun State
Subsidy is a foregone issue. TUC is in support of subsidy removal. The problem is that there must be a roundtable discussion about it.
There must be something to cushion the effect of the removal. He just made the declaration that he is going to remove the subsidy without adequate provision to ease the experience. It will be tough. We are all citizens of this country.
So nobody should take us for a ride. All along we have been in support of subsidy removal but before this is done, there must be a lot of discussions.
We have four refineries in Nigeria but there has not been any turnaround maintenance on any of them, which is very unfortunate.
You can’t just come and announce such things without talking with the stakeholders.
The action is unfair, draconian by all standards and ungodly, targeted at bringing back hardship to the people of this country.
TUC will not take it.
Bishop Seun Adeoye
Like I always informed people, there is no difference between half a dozen and six. There is no difference between the previous government and this present one.
With a new government coming on board, the people should first of all feel the impact of joy and happiness. Even if anybody is saying that they are joyful that a new government is coming up, the pain of the inauguration is enormous and I believe people would never forget that.
On the issue of subsidy removal, I also kept telling people that it would not be the gain of Nigerians if the government does not subsidise fuel. We don’t have water, good roads. It appears Nigerians enjoy nothing apart from the free air from God.
People who are clamouring for subsidy removal are not the same people buying this fuel, they are people who enjoy everything free. It is quite unfortunate and I think the government should sit down and think of the pains Nigerians are facing.
If we remove the subsidy, would you increase the salaries of workers? Did you find other means through which workers can feel comfortable in what they are doing?
Look at what happened just yesterday? It is quite unfortunate that we are having it like this. Same people have benefitted massively in government and they are the same people who have put us in this mess.
Tinubu should rather sit down and think of alternative ways of doing things and not in this harsh way.
Either we like it or not, the prices of food items, goods and services will skyrocket.
Of course, we know that the prices of fuel and transportation would also move up. Where are we going? Already people are suffering and you are adding more to that suffering because you want to run a government.
I think the essence of a government is to ensure that the welfare of the people is taken care of.
As a minister of God, we keep on praying for them. The situation in Nigeria is very sad, very bad.
Ayo Ologun, public affairs analyst
The issue of subsidy removal, for me and most other Nigerians, is long overdue. This is a lesson for all politicians that sometimes they don’t allow politics to overshadow the real intention and the purpose for good governance and leadership.
You recall that in 2011 and 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan attempted to remove fuel subsidy and it was the likes of the present President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and some other people who stopped that process.
They insisted that the timing was wrong, that the then president didn’t have human empathy but I want to say this that if subsidy has been removed 11 years down the line, we probably would have gotten used to it and things would have normalised and we would have been reaping the benefits now but then the onus of the removal of the subsidy is falling on the laps of the same person that opposed it some 11 years ago.
That does not change the fact that the removal is long overdue but I also have some reservations about the way the new president went about it in his inaugural speech.
He could have stated the process by which he planned to cushion the effect on the people without announcing outrightly that subsidy is no more.
I also fault his claim that the budget handed over to him does not make provision for fuel subsidy. That is not in its entirety true because the midterm budget which will expire by the end of June still has provision for subsidy.
So under his own administration, he will still pay for subsidy in the month of June. So to say that the budget handed over to him does not have provision for subsidy is half truth.
I want to plead with the president that he needs to reassure the people, especially through the NNPC limited, that there is more than enough fuel in reserve that will not warrant panic buying from Nigerians.
He quickly needs to reel out his plans to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal, maybe in terms of increase in salary or reduction in cost of food stuff.
Whatever plan the government has to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, this is the time to announce it so that he does not start his administration gathering more enemies than friends.
Murtala Agboola, public affairs analyst
The only way to go for now in Nigeria is that subsidy must go.
There are two things- we don’t even know as of today how much of PMS we consume as a country.
Secondly, a lot of people who don’t import fuel now claim subsidy.
We are so indebted that we cannot afford as a country to subsidise petroleum. It means it must go and all major stakeholders agreed to this.
Incidentally, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and major presidential candidates in the 2023 elections agreed that subsidy must go.
There is no doubt about that. Unfortunately, we in the media did not interrogate how he was going to do it. He has won the election and he has decided that it must go.
The statement made was a fact that the outgone government of Muhammadu Buhari insisted that the subsidy provision made in the 2023 budget ends in June.
If Nigeria is going to be good then all of us must be ready to make sacrifices.
The marketers that suddenly raised their pump price, are they telling Nigerians that they have just lifted the petrol? This is the fuel that they have in their storage.
They must cooperate with the government so that the country would be better for us.
By the plans of the government, either deliberately or inadvertently, it is a fact that if the provision ends in June, by July or thereabout, Dangote refinery would come on stream and things would be less difficult for Nigerians. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough manpower to police the marketers.
My advice to Nigerians is that we must wait a while and then the government needs to call major stakeholders to have a round table talk. The reality is that we have got to a point of no return on the issue of subsidy and it must go.
Emmanuel Olowu, human rights activist
We must understand that the President has taken the right decision by saying we are no longer subsidising petrol in Nigeria.
For a long time, it is only PMS that the federal government has been subsidising over time but the mistake they have made is that they only made a pronouncement without sitting down to understudy and to meet with a lot of agencies that are involved before making such a presentation.
Let us look at the 2023 budget
The budget still covered the subsidy till June 2023. It means from July 1, subsidy would no longer be paid again to some set of few feeding fat on the Nigerian economy but the problem is the artificial scarcity, which is based on nothing but greed of oil marketers.
Because till June 30, the federal government will still be subsidising and we still have enough PMS that can take Nigerians for the next two months. Why are we now having such a scarcity?
That is also telling us the bad attitude of the Nigerian people. That is the challenge we are facing.
What I think is expected of Mr President is that he should have sat down to look at it without making a pronouncement.
I am of the opinion that he took the decision looking at the development of the Dangote refinery. The refinery, according to the information we have, will take care of the internal consumption of Nigerians, but the question is that he can’t make a presentation without meeting with stakeholders of the industry, putting into consideration the attitude of the Nigerian people.
My advice is that all agencies saddled with the responsibility to regulate the activity and actions of fuel marketers and everybody in the downstream sector should immediately come alive to their responsibilities so that they can begin to prosecute anybody doing things against the Nigerian state.
It is a right step by saying Nigeria is no longer paying subsidy, but I think the federal government must also think of what to subsidise now.
What I think the government ought to subside now is electricity. My opinion is based on the fact that electricity remains the hallmark of development of a nation.