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CSO backs Tinubu on removal of petroleum subsidy


  31 Mai      46        Economy (15352),

   

Abuja, May 31, 2023 (NAN) A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Oil and Gas Transparency and Advocacy Group has drawn support for President Bola Tinubu on the removal of the petroleum subsidy.

The group which has professionals and experts in the oil and gas sector as members disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president announced the subsidy removal during his inaugural speech at the Eagle Square on Monday in Abuja.

The CSO stated that the Federal Government was spending N1.243 trillion monthly on fuel subsidies, saying the economy would collapse if an end was not put into the regime.

NAN also reports that the press conference was jointly addressed by the National Chairman of the group, Isah Abubakar, the General Secretary, Joe Moses and other top executives.

It explained that petrol otherwise known as PMS, was still being sold at N600 per liter across the country in spite of the subsidy regime.

It said that the sum of N1.243 trillion being fuel subsidy cost was not included in the nation’s budget for 2023.

It expressed concern that the subsid regime was being driven by “a few questionable merchants whose monolithic line of business is “fuel subsidy”, adding that such an amount could be ploughed back into the nation’s economy.

It said the pillage of resources in the guise of subsidy had taken too long, thereby making the scam look like a mystery.

It also raised the issues of lack of transparency, accountability and probity in the regime; stating that no nation could tolerate such humongous financial haemorrhage amidst poverty, lack and starvation of the citizens.

It further described the removal as an “action of the new sheriff in town”, which undoubtedly is in the interest of Nigerians and for the development of the country.

It appealed for the understanding of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), other organised labour bodies and the CSOs on the decision which they described as necessary.

While expressing optimism that there would be a paradigm shift from the past under President Tinubu in economic terms; it cautioned the NLC not to embark on strike or make themselves available for oil cabals to be used against the new government

It said “Dialogue remains the potent form for settling differences.

“The petroleum subsidy regime which has existed for decades has been without transparency, credibility and accountability in the process leading to payments of claims to the so-called beneficiaries of the arrangement.

“As at 2022, the Federal Government of Nigeria paid out N1.243 trillion as fuel subsidy monthly. In a normal society, this should be unacceptable to the government and the citizens.

“The so-called fuel subsidy regime has not mitigated the economic woes of the nation, even as consumers buy fuel at a high price of N600 per litre.”

To sustain his policy on the removal, it called on President Tinubu to tackle activities of fuel smugglers through the borders of neighbouring countries.

It also sought cooperation of the Nigeria National Petroleum Limited (NNPL) to ensure the sustainability of the removal, stressing that it would amount to policy summersault if saboteurs are allowed to have their way.

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