As Fuel Scarcity Surfaces: FG insists, No plan to remove subsidy

April 15th, 2019

*IPMAN, NUPENG insist on products availability, official price

*Scarcity persists in Osun, Bayelsa

By Appolos Christian (Abuja) and Anthony Nwachukwu, (Lagos)

Following the widespread ru­mour that the federal govern­ment is planning to remove fuel subsidy which has resulted in scarcity of the product in some states of the federation, the Minister of Fi­nance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, on Sun­day in Washington DC USA, said that government has no immediate plan to remove fuel subsidy.

The Finance Minister who spoke at a joint press briefing in the company of Minister of National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udoma and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), Mr. Godwin Eme­diele, at the on-going IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washing­ton DC, said, “There is no imminent plan to remove fuel subsidy”.

Meanwhile,the Nigeria La­bour Congress (NLC), had on Fri­day called on the Federal Govern­ment to put an end to the subsidy on petroleum products by reviving the local refineries to ensure the prod­ucts were extracted and refined in the country for domestic use.

President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, at the public declara­tion of Nigeria’s host of the 6th Afri­can meeting of Solidarity with Cuba, and the inauguration of a local or­ganising committee ahead of the meeting holding in September this year, warned the federal government to be wary of any advice from the In­ternational Monetary Fund (IMF), insisting that subsidy was another form of corruption which in the un­derstanding of the NLC, was noth­ing but the funding of inefficiency.

“In the first instance, is there subsidy? This is a question we have not been able to answer and I want to collaborate with what President Bu­hari said years back that subsidy is actually corruption and that whoev­er is subsidizing is aiding corruption and we stand by that position. In fact that has remained a consistent posi­tion of NLC.

“We can kill that issue of subsi­dy if we refine our products for our domestic use and it is not rocket sci­ence. Very soon we are going to for­ward a well documented document to government on that.

“You recall that two or three years back, we invited one of the best Nigerian from Texas that has consulted to many countries around the world on the issue of oil and gas, and he gave us the analysis that our refineries can be upgraded. Nothing is wrong with our refineries, it is just conspiracy.

“Refineries can be upgrad­ed from 1 capacity to another. The four refineries we have, if serviced and upgraded can service our pop­ulation and the entire West Africa countries. But because it pays more for corruption tendencies, that is why we prefer importation than re­fining our product for domestic use. So clearly this issue should be situ­ated.

“Whereas we celebrate coun­tries like Venezuela today that have stood their ground today to say no; the policies must work for the peo­ple and not for the capitalist, our own case is a sorry one. God Al­mighty has already given us this re­source in abundance, why should our citizens have to suffer to get it for use?

“In the first place, we should only be talking about subsidy if ac­tually we do not produce this prod­uct. But whereas we are producing it and in abundance in that matter, yet we suffer like we don’t even own a drop of it. This is the shameful or­deal Nigerians go through. It is re­ally a funny situation.

“You own crude oil, you pay for it to be extracted from the ground, you pay for it to be taken outside to be refined, you pay for tax to where you took it to and you also pay to bring it back to your country for consumption. In fact we are only but lying for inefficiency in the country and it is very shameful. Because if we are producing our product here as it ought to, that word called subsidy in anything concerning petrol product would just die,” he said.

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