Fuel Subsidy Removal Has Thrown Nigerians Into Poverty
The Presidency has said the removal of fuel subsidy has thrown Nigerians into poverty, and the government is gradually losing the goodwill and support of the citizens.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu, on May 29, announced the removal of subsidy on petrol and said the federal government could not continue to subside petrol for neighbouring countries.
In a chat with Saturday PUNCH, a close aide of the President who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Tinubu government was scared of losing the remaining goodwill and support as a result of some policies and their effects on the masses.
The aide added that revealed that this informed the decision of the NNPCL to secure a $3bn crude repayment loan on Wednesday to support the naira and stabilise the foreign exchange market.
He said, “Ordinarily, the government ought not to be involved in fixing the pump price of petrol in a deregulated economy just as it is with diesel and kerosene, but when we realised how the removal of subsidy on petrol had thrown the citizens into poverty and how fast the administration is losing credibility and goodwill, we had to put on our thinking caps.
“The security reports we are getting are not favourable at all. There is a high probability that there may soon be civil unrest and escalated tension as the citizens have been pushed to the wall. There are indications that organised labour, civil society and the opposition are planning to plunge the country into a spontaneous crisis that may snowball into protests that, if care is not taken, may threaten the stability of the government.
“Don’t forget that the election that brought President Tinubu in is still being vigorously challenged by opposition parties, who are mounting massive pressure on the judiciary to overturn the result. Any protest at this time will not augur well for the administration as it will be difficult to contain and may be hijacked by the opposition, and if the presidential election petition tribunal orders a rerun or cancellation of the election for a fresh one to take place, you can imagine what will happen to the Tinubu presidency.”
The aide stated that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and oil marketers have told the government what the ideal pump price of petrol should be.
He said any further increase would be catastrophic and ignite spontaneous protests nationwide, which led to the decision of the NNPCL to secure a $3bn crude repayment loan on Wednesday to support the naira and stabilise the foreign exchange market.
He added: “Yes, the NNPCL and marketers gave feedback about what the ideal pump price of petrol should be, but we reasoned that any further increase would be catastrophic and ignite spontaneous protests nationwide. It will be suicidal for us to watch that happening.
“This means that if the naira appreciates in value, the cost of fuel will drop, and further increases will be halted, and there won’t be any need to pay subsidy on the product.”
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