The thorny issue of subsidy removal as the country keeps accruing humongous external debts reared its head on Friday, as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) waded into the discourse.
Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, during an interview on AriseTV, highlighted the dangers and negative ripple effects inherent in any removal of subsidy without the requisite infrastructure needed towards mitigation.
The unionist also blamed the authorities for angling to the buck of the burden to the average citizenry while reiterating the importance of fixing and upgrading the nation’s refineries.
Wabba said, “We have sufficient information and the issue can be addressed where everyone will benefit. The major issue now is oil theft, not subsidy removal or not. This menace has led to the inability to meet OPEC quota.
“If you remove subsidy without fixing refineries, the same issues will crop up. On daily basis, small and medium scale businesses are closing down and losing due to the price of diesel.
“We have done intensive research on what could be done and it is the inefficiency of our system to not fixing the refineries and it reeks of shifting the inefficiency to the citizens. This is a systemic challenge that needs to be fixed.
“In the other products, kerosene and diesel, is it affordable to the average Nigerian? These are the issues. In most of our villages, transporters contribute to the informal economy and they depend on this. We are not against subsidy removal but it must be on the basis of refining crude in Nigeria via fixing the refineries.”
He further alluded to an intentional sabotage of the system by some persons who accrue wealth from the importation of fuel and the moribund state of the refineries.
“Deliberately, some persons are not letting our refineries to work and the Nigerian ones are not bold; they can he fixed and upgraded. This is beyond the rhetorics of just removing subsidies.
“At all levels of negotiations in clear terms in agreements even in 2016, Kachikwu said the refineries will be fixed before 2022. Even former President Yar’Adua pledged to fix it but the issue is a lack of political will. The reason is due to the incentive associated with importation so don’t shift the burden to the citizens,” Wabba explained.
Earlier in the week, the Federal Government revealed it would spend N2.7 trillion more on fuel subsidy payment in 2023.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this during the presentation of the 2023-2035 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF-FSP) on Thursday in Abuja, said the government estimated subsidy payment would gulp N6.7 trillion.
The amount was pegged on the Business-as-Usual scenario, higher than the N3.36 trillion projected for the reform scenario.
However, the government had put the estimated subsidy spending for this year at N4 trillion.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: How N70m road construction created more hardship for Sokoto residents
“To address recurrent accidents on Gagi to Gidan Dilo road and Fakon Idi roads, in Sokoto State, the Federal Government,...
INVESTIGATION: Inside Kwara school where students are used as labour on teachers’ private farms
In this report, SHEREEFDEEN AHMAD uncovered how young students in Kwara State, Nigeria, are being used for labour work on...
INVESTIGATION: How Kano SUBEB awarded contracts to inactive contractors, non-existent schools
In an effort to address issues hindering quality education, the Kano State Government in 2020 awarded N88,406,667.10 for the construction...
SPECIAL REPORT: Hike in gas price forces more Nigerians to use coal, sawdust, as smoke kills 93,300 yearly
In the build-up to the 27th Conference of Party (COP 27), Nigeria recently launched its energy transition plan (ETP) as one of...
INVESTIGATION: How roadside foods endanger consumers’ life with trans fat in northern Nigeria
With an estimated 854,000 deaths in Nigeria, and 3,229 attributed to trans fatty acids (TFA) -related cardiovascular deaths, ADESOLA IKULAJOLU visited Nigeria’s...