My fellow Nigerians, it is no longer news that the fuel subsidy has officially been removed. Well, for those that have not heard... now you know. press release: http://www.channelstv.com/global/news_details.php?nid=30827&cat=Business
Few days ago, I watched the fuel subsidy removal debate and it is an enlightening debate as to what exactly the issue of fuel subsidy is all about as some people are not aware.
Before now, Nigerians have been buying fuel at a reduced price of N65/litre instead of the landing price of fuel which is about N140 and government has been paying the difference in subsidy. By removing the subsidy, the current government is saying it can no longer pay the difference for various reasons. Hence, the price of fuel will go up or as most of us have heard today, the price has gone up.
The truth is the reasons for removing this subsidy are reasonable. Basically,Sanusi Lamido, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the minister of petroleum, Mrs allison-madueke are saying it is not healthy for the government to keep paying this subsidy.
They said the government last year had to pay subsidy of about 800billion and this year if it is not removed will have to pay about 1.3trillion naira and that this amount of money can be put into other sectors for the betterment of Nigerians.. (okay!stay calm, that sounds cool).
Also, they made us understand that fuel subsidy promotes smuggling because other surrounding countries have their prices at about N140/litre so some people import fuel into Nigeria at 65naira per litre and then take them to these neighbouring countries and make so much profit. To stop this , subsidy should be removed so that smugglers lose their silly job. (okay!! that makes sense but...)
Also, Mrs Allison-Madueke said that by removing the fuel subsidy, we deregulate the sector allowing investors to build refineries (which cannot happen if we don't remove the subsidy as it wont be profitable to them) and this will create some kind of competition that will later BRING DOWN the price of fuel.
OKAY!! OKAY!! So now, I perfectly understand that it is sort of a good idea for a developing country like ours to remove or in the words of mrs madueke at the debate, transfer the huge amount the government pays as fuel subsidy to other needy areas in the country but the problem and fear of Nigerians is
CAN WE TRUST THE GOVERNMENT?
In the debate, SAN Olisa Agbakoba said must we do fuel subsidy tomorrow, can't we take time to deliberate on it very well and if after 1year we all see that we need to remove the subsidy then no one will argue about it.
IS THIS THE RIGHT TIME TO REMOVE THE FUEL SUBSIDY?
He also made mention of the fact that the government has not exactly shown us what they have sacrificed out of their pockets to help the situation so why should Nigerians be the ones to sacrifice?.
Ben Bruce said that the government has been subsidizing the rich(those that have cars and are buying fuel) so he is asking that it should now subsidize the poor(who have no cars and depend on transportation bus,taxi and the horrible keke maruwas and okadas) in transportation by making sure they continue to pay whatever amount they have been paying to move around.
The great Femi Falana had loads of things to say as he reminded them of the time we were paying off our debts and all the promises the government made then but yet did not deliver.
I do believe that for us as a nation to grow well, maybe we have to go through some hard reforms like this but I am afraid of what will happen to the majority of us who are just struggling to get by each day if the government FAILS TO DELIVER ON ITS PROMISES AGAIN especially after this fuel subsidy removal and all the kinds of inflation that will come with it.
I'm hoping I have been able to throw more light on what this subsidy issue is about.
what happens now?
feel free to comment and share your thoughts.