Finally, the almighty subsidy on the consumption of petroleum products would be removed. The APC government is going to do what PDP did not do. As usual, they are going to share money to the poorest people in the country. Everyone in their right minds would be in support of the move. I am in too.
We would be able to crash the prices of petroleum products since the government has removed its stake from it. The savings could go into diversifying the economy, as Comrade Austin Okai once said. We are hoping to hear the end of the subsidy regime, which has over the decades become a cash cow for the president’s and his powerful henchmen.
Each opposition party has something to say about the government in power. The opposition in Nigeria often knows all the remedies to our national malaise until they get into power and the opportunity to actualize their theory is given to them.
The present ruling party, the APC, as an opposition in 2012, protested against the pump price of premium motors spirit , otherwise known as petrol, at N65 per litre. They shut down the entire country, berated the government and branded it callous, greedy and other unprintable names.
Thankfully, they won the elections and they have been saddled with the responsibility of making the decisions Jonathan ought to have made, in their opinion, that could have saved the nation. And below is the summary of what they think is best for Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari who was said to have built four refineries as a military head of state and minister of petroleum resources under General Sani Abacha, can no longer guarantee the functionality of those refineries. By the way, that rumour of Buhari building a refinery was a propaganda that many Nigerians were too busy buying the lies of APC to verify.
The then opposition, now the ruling party led by Buhari, called subsidy a scam and that it never existed. How they started talking of removing something that never existed, now as a government, has got to be another wonder of the world.
APC, since 2015, has not save one dollar as a reserve. Its sqandermania and the tendency to burden the already impoverished masses with the incidence of its hedonistic outings in the form of a raise in the prices of all things is amazing. So far, while APC keeps borrowing, they must be reminded that China, our biggest creditor, would soon come knocking. And we better have their money when they show up.
Instead of investing the gains on oil, we borrow, fund big government and make investments in areas of no direct impact on business growth and development. A wise government would borrow to invest in education, IT and FinTech. A boost in the economic life of the people would create prosperity, which the government can tax to pay back its loans. But its fixated on oil.
One of the most bewildering policies of the APC government is sharing money. I want to ask a question that has been on my mind. The likes of Soludo, Osinbajo and other big names sat down and advised the presidency on sharing money?
People should produce and earn something. They should sit down like serfs and be given periodic pittance by the government. How can a government which lacks the initiative for changing the welfare of the people through engaging them positively be sharing money?
Now, I hear that when the subsidy on petroleum products is removed, the government will cushion the effect on the people by sharing N5,000 to 40 million people monthly, for six months. A country without a database!
How come no one is thinking of a partnership with the private sector to invest the money in transportation? Build a car manufacturing plant in Nigeria to produce cars using local content, creating millions of direct and indirect employment while solving the transportation issues?
Why has no one thought of using the gains of subsidy removal(assuming subsidy exists, because APC never believed it existed) into building refineries or even turning around the existing refineries for optimum productivity?
Why not think of paying that money into counterpart funding for a partnership with a steel company from Japan or China in trying to revitalising the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill? All we think about is borrowing to spend on consumption.
Since the subsidy has up to nine lives, I hope that the incoming government would not ‘remove’ its own. This is becoming a pattern. And the masses bear the cost at all times. The government should consider the plight of the people. Nigerians didn’t commit any crime by being Nigerian. They shouldn’t be so punished by their own people for resources they own.
Think about it.
God bless Nigeria.
Researcher and Public Affairs Analyst.
Writes from Lagos.