Civil society group backs Tinubu on fuel subsidy removal

The removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Tuesday received a boost from  Civil Society Organisations and Professionals drawn from the various parts of the country, describing the development as ‘good riddance to bad rubbish.’

The group, at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, stated that the Federal spends N1.243 trillion monthly as fuel subsidy, saying the economy will collapse if the regime is not ended.

The National Chairman of the group, Isah Abubakar, who was flanked by the General Secretary, Joe Moses, and other top executives, explained that petrol, otherwise known as PMS, was still sold at N600/litre across the country, despite the subsidy regime.

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

They believed this was being driven by a few questionable merchants whose monolithic line of business, “fuel subsidy,” can be plowed back into the economy.

The group lamented that the pillage of resources in the guise of fuel subsidy has taken too long, thereby making the scam looks like a mystery.

More worrisome, the group maintained, was the lack of transparency, accountability, and probity, stating that it was only a nation like Nigeria that can tolerate such humongous financial hemorrhage amid poverty, lack, and starvation of the citizens.

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

Asking for the understanding of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and other organized bodies, the CSOs expressed optimism that they would be a paradigm shift from the past under President Tinubu in terms of the economic outflows of the country.

They cautioned the NLC not to embark on strike or made themselves available for oil cabals to be used against the new government, adding that “dialogue remains the potent form for settling differences.”

The group said: “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 of 2022, the Federal Government of Nigeria pays 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 the policy of subsidy removal, CSOs President Tinubu to rejig the nation’s borders and tackle fuel smugglers to the neighboring countries.

They also sought the cooperation of the Nigeria National Petroleum Limited to ensure the sustainability of the removal of fuel subsidy stressing about it would amount to policy summersault if saboteurs are allowed to have their way.