ICDGG Faults Subsidy Removal Without Palliatives

By Chris Udochukwu

The International Coalition for Democracy and Good Governance, (ICDGG) has faulted President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s sudden removal of fuel subsidy without palliatives to cushion the impact on the ordinary citizens.

A statement signed by its Executive Director, Barrister Emmanuel Anene described the withdrawal as a thoughtless policy that has further impoverished Nigerians.

” We at the ICDGG are worried about the far-reaching implications of the policy direction of this government, which would further throw more millions Nigerians into abject poverty.

“Right now, the country’s inflationary trend according to World Bank report has risen to 17-year record high. It’s is very clear that the poorest of the poor, urban poor and small scale enterprises, (SMEs) are bearing the brunt of the fuel subsidy removal which is in contra-distinction with the falsehood and misinformation being peddled around that subsidy only benefited wealthy Nigerians.

“It is unfortunate that political jobbers are falling on top of themselves hailing and justifying President Tinubu’s removal of fuel subsidy when majority of Nigerians are overburdened and are groaning under the harsh impacts of President Tinubu’s sudden removal of fuel subsidy without marshalling out palliatives to cushion the consequences”

Barrister Anene also observed that there had not been any clear-cut roadmap by Tinubu’s administration on oil and gas sector concerning the resuscitation of the nation’s ailing refineries and the building of new ones, noting that even the much celebrated Dangote Refinery has not started refining despite its hurried commissioning by the Ex-president Mohammadu Buhari before his exit.

He noted that it was regrettable that despite the claim of the refinary commencing production in July “what we hear is that new licences are being issued for importation of fuel which will put further pressure on our forex with the likelihood of another upward adjustment of fuel prices even as we are already groaning under the current price regime.

He said further: “We are of the firm belief that this President Tinubu’s administration is not addressing the real issues surrounding fuel subsidy”, wondering why Nigeria remains the only OPEC member Country that is not refining its crude, why government failed to deal with glaring pillage and corruption in subsidy regime and also why the government failed to fine-tune the subsidy policy to achieve the desired end.

“In 2012, when Nigeria was confronted with similar situation, Former President Jonathan provided palliatives to cushion the effects of the removal, probed the subsidy regime and prosecuted those alleged to have been involved in the subsidy scam.

“As if the effects of the subsidy removal is not enough, the federal government is planning to add to this burden with the proposed value added tax, (VAT) on diesel, One Thousand Naira annual levy on vehicle ownership and new tariff on electricity.

ICDGG according to the Executive Director was concerned that all these measures would worsen the already helpless situation the ordinary Nigerians were confronted with.

He equally criticised the floating of Naira, noting that it was not a silver bullet to solving the country’s foreign exchange problems, adding that the floating had already jacked up the exchange rate at the parallel market to over eight hundred and fifty naira to a dollar within a short period. He also stated that analysts had forecast that it might hit one thousand naira if adequate measures were not put in place.
“In this stead, ICDGG urges Mr President to as a matter of urgency criminalize the dollarization of Nigeria economy, stop all payments in Nigeria with Dollars, begin the sell of our crude to countries that are willing to pay in Naira or give incentives for Naira payment, and should either privatise or resuscitate our ailing refineries to cater for our domestic fuel consumption.

“In the fight against corruption, ICDGG urged President Tinubu to be definitive and desicive and take a tough stance on anti corruption. It stressed thst a situation where Abdulrasheed Bawa who was investigating former governors has remained incarcerated while the said governors were not only walking freely but lobbying for juicy appointments did not inspire confidence in Economic and Financial Crimes, (EFCC) as an anti corruption agency.

“The man in acting capacity will never have the confidence to go against politically exposed persons as corruption they say will always fight back.

“Only recently, we read in the news that about four hundred billion naira have already been saved by federal government within four weeks of subsidy removal, it is our palpable fear that since there is no clear-cut roadmap and development plan in post subsidy era, these humongous amount will be wasted on needless high cist of governance and to service the unbridled life style of the appointees of government when majority of Nigerians are wallowing in abject poverty with shrinking purchasing power in midst of skyrocketing inflationary trend.

“For us at International Coalition for Democracy and Good Governance, it’s time for our political leaders to shed affluent lifestyle and shouldn’t be asking the impoverished Nigerians to sacrifice their life and blood. Government at all levels must be sensitive and sensible in this harrowing and difficult times.”

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