Yusuf Umar Ogbanwo
The president Muhammadu Buhari resolve to remove subsidy on fuel has been met with approval from many quarters even as the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has described it as a gift to Nigerians.
According to a statement issued by CESJET’s Executive Secretary, Comrade Ikpa Isaac in Abuja today, the removal of the subsidy will put a lasting end to the incessant fuel crisis which have put the nation and innocent citizens at the mercy of a certain cabal.
” Different revelations have emerged of massive fraud in the fuel subsidy process, trillions of naira are alleged to have been fraudulently stolen from the government purse in the name of fuel subsidy payments. It is heart wrenching to discover that the country is being bleed on the side despite its already anemic financial status”. He lamented.
Comrade Ikpa said the deregulation of the downstream sector will open up the sector to private investors who hitherto developed cold feet to investing in the sector due to heavy government interference.
He said, the removal of subsidy will not only break the cabal but also encourage those who have had refining licenses approved several years ago to go ahead to build the refineries.
Speaking further on the benefits of subsidy removal, Ikpa added that this will tackle the incessant scarcity of petrol due to importation and also the spring up of petrochemical industries alongside local refining to create jobs.
CESJET while highlighting the economic benefits of the subsidy removal said the move will save the economy the unnecessary pressure put on the Naira due to the heavy demand for FOREX to fund the importation of petroleum products rather we will be exporting refined petroleum products thereby earning foreign currencies to shore up our reserves.
He however likened the subsidy removal to the telecom revolution which according to him had freed the sector of unwarranted setbacks.
“It is time we do the next big thing after the great telecoms revolution that came with the liberalization of the sector in the early 2000s. We predict that the boom economy will experience with the deregulation of the downstream oil sector will make the telecoms experience a child’s play”. It declared.
Meanwhile CESJET has condemned the continuous spending of over 1 trillion Naira on subsidies and called on the government to remain resolute in its decision to remove subsidy.
“Nigeria in the last five years has consistently spent over 1 trillion naira that is about $5b USD annually on petrol subsidies, same country that spent less than 20 billion naira on roads in the year 2015, but spent over 1 trillion naira on petrol subsidies in same year is unacceptable. It is on this backdrop that we proudly demand that no group or persons should distract the Buhari led administration from saving the nation from thus canker worm”. He said.