Group Says Subsidy Removal Is a Courageous Decision by President Tinubu
By: Femi Mustapha
A group under the auspices of the Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA) has called for understanding, calm, and support for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration over the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), better known as petrol and the adjustment of pump prices.
Speaking to journalists in Kaduna, the Speaker of the Arewa Youth Assembly, Mohammed Salihu Danlami, said the removal of the subsidy is a tough but courageous decision, which previous administrations failed to take.
He noted that it is very thoughtful and a sign of good faith and continuity for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to keep up with the subsidy removal, which foundation was laid by the immediate past administration.
He also commended the efforts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd. in addressing the nation and promptly making adjustments to the price of PMS to tackle fuel hoarders.
Danlami noted that Nigeria has previously paid an average of N120 billion monthly in petrol subsidy.
He urged Nigerians to remain calm, apply wisdom and understanding, and resist the temptation and instigation by those fanning the embers of hate to cause chaos and instability in the country.
He further noted that subsidy removal is in conformity with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA Act) 2021, which provides for the total deregulation of the petroleum downstream section to drive investment and growth.
The Assembly president decried the fact that subsidy has been the reason why Nigeria has remained stagnant for years because it benefits only a few rich Nigerians who don’t even need the subsidy.
According to Danlami, a few top politicians and key government officials were making billions of dollars from the subsidy while Nigerians were unable to afford quality education, healthcare, infrastructure, electricity, telecommunications, stable power supply, and agriculture, and faced with a high rate of unemployment and extreme poverty.
He maintained that with subsidy payments, even if oil prices increase in the global market, Nigeria and Nigerians benefit nothing because the gains from the increase in oil prices are channeled towards paying subsidies.
The speaker stressed that in the opinion of the Arewa Youths, which reflects the opinion of most Nigerians, the payment of the subsidy is a waste of resources and a misplacement of priorities with lethal consequences for the nation.
The subsidy has fatal effects of inflationary pressures on the economy, which negatively impact the exchange rates and result in all kinds of untold sufferings for the Nigerian masses and pushes millions of youths into different forms of terrorist activities and insurgency.
He argued that the continued payment of subsidies will lead Nigeria to continue to borrow and remain in debt, noting that between January and August 2021, a total of N905.27 billion has been incurred as subsidy costs, according to the Federation Account and Allocation Committee reports. As of 2022, the cost of servicing debt in Nigeria with the federal government was N2.597 trillion, whereas revenue was N2.4 trillion. With this, no meaningful development in other key areas is feasible.
He further stated that, as a developing nation, Nigeria must do more than just survive or live in the moment. Nigeria must make developments in all sectors central to our existence. However, Nigeria cannot do that as long as she continues to pay subsidies to a few Nigerians who are already rich at the detriment of over 200 million more Nigerians. By any sensible standard, we cannot possibly eat our cake and have it.
To continue to pay subsidies is to intentionally rob the future of the generation yet unborn. It is to deliberately slide our nation into recession, high inflation rates, hunger, extreme poverty, and starvation.
We should not and cannot continue to pay subsidies in this country if we want to have Nigeria as a nation in the next decades to come.
Therefore, the Arewa Youth Assembly calls on Nigerians to support the removal of subsidies in order to save all and desist from politicizing it or bringing in religion or ethnicity because the danger that awaits if we continue to pay subsidies is coming for all Nigerians, irrespective of their political inclination, tribe, or religion.
It is a tough and painful decision to make, but certainly, the right step towards the right direction to save not just a few, but the entire nation, and to restore the glory of Nigeria as the leader of Africa.
In conclusion, the speaker strongly cautioned against hoarding PMS for safety concerns and to allow its continuous flow through the proper channels to ensure its availability and affordability.