Today Nigeria is in a heightened economic turmoil. President Bola Tinubu has exhibited true strength and courage to announce the removal of the consistent debatable matter known as fuel subsidy. During his inauguration, his authoritative statement birthed immediate effect. Fuel subsidy is gone in Nigeria.
However, this move would infinitely be a necessary step to address our numerous woes. I think Nigerians should come to terms with the fact that subsidy could not be logically sustained in the country. Every political party literally promised to remove subsidy upon election. The current pricing of petrol is between N480 to N570 per litre.
Incidentally, the IMF and World Bank in their global view advised against the unrealistic maintenance of fuel subsidy in Nigeria and Africa generally. They described it as a source of economic quagmire and stagnation. In reality, fuel subsidy only benefitted a little percentage due to the possibilities of smuggling and other illegal activities with regard to petrol in Nigeria. The only issue with this removal, as many would argue, is the absence of affordability on the side of citizens. There should have been consultations before the final decision.
The NNPC Ltd stated that it made payments for subsidy from its cash flow, citing that the Federal Government was unable to pay back the N2.8 trillion spent. In other words, fuel subsidy was always meant to end, regardless of when.
It is important to note that going by the guidelines of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the subsidy matter should have disappeared in 2021 but the immediate past administration was in consistent denial.
I have always wished Nigerians would remember that this same group of politicians that removed subsidy ‘abruptly’ condemned former President Jonathan for an attempt to remove fuel subsidy. Life is really confusing. The stone which the builders removed eventually turned out to be the head cornerstone.
Millennials would say karma does sting. When they wanted power, they cooked up all sorts of propaganda against President Jonathan just to prohibit him from achieving reality. Who remembers ‘Occupy Nigeria’?
At this point, I would suggest that hence the subsidy removal, mechanisms should be introduced to reduce the dangerous effect on the poor and the larger percentage of Nigerians. Government is indeed for the people.
Also, the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has called for the suspension of the establishment of Nigeria Air. It has also called for the prosecution of those involved in the unveiling of the national carrier by the previous government, describing the exercise as a fraud. But is this really shocking? It has always been obvious that the exercise of establishing the carrier was not based on integrity and government transparency. It was glaring that the aircraft was rented and the establishment of Nigeria Air a sloppy move to distract Nigerians.
In defense, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, explained that the unveiling carried out by the former minister was not an official launching but just a display of aspiration. He also said that the ministry did not spend a dime on the event. Subsequently, the ministry was accused of conniving with Ethiopian Airlines to deceive Nigerians. This is really disgraceful.
Our leaders consistently justify nonsense without regard to the precarious situation on ground. Sometimes, looking at where Nigeria is right now, one should not blame youths for leaving. Nobody likes nonsense actually. Nigerian leaders should understand that social issues are not bedroom problems due to their complexity. Arrogance, deceit and hypocrisy will never move Nigeria forward.