Petroleum subsidy removal: Only poor will continue to suffer

Petroleum subsidy removal: Only poor will continue to suffer

From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

Ahead of the Federal Government’s resolve to remove petroleum subsidy by next year, the former General Secretary, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani, has said that only the poor will continue to bear the brunt of the subsidy removal.

The Federal Government has said that petroleum will sell for N340 per litre from February 2022.

However, Sani in a statement made available to Daily Sun said it is doubtful if paying N5,000 per month to some few million vulnerable Nigerians can add economic value to the polity compared to the benefits of using the price differentials for infrastructure development.

He called for the creation of an institution akin to the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) with the mandate to use the price differences to improve the quality of infrastructure across the country for the good of all Nigerians.

‘My take about the conversations on petroleum subsidy is that it is not sustainable for long and the only way out of the extenuating circumstances is for the government to hands-off petroleum subsidy and allow market forces to determine the price of petroleum,’ Sani said.

‘The only challenge to such a course of action would come from the labour unions whose argument has been hinged on the need for ordinary Nigerian to benefit from petroleum in an oil-producing country.

‘But because the management of the subsidy is riddled with corruption that skews the benefits of subsidy to a privileged few, a viable way out would be to create an institution akin to the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund with the mandate to use the price differentials and improve the volume and quality of infrastructure across the country for the good of all. That way, the labour unions will understand and pander.

‘Of course, social investment is not a bad idea, but I am not sure using the price differences and paying N5,000 per month to some few millions of vulnerably poor Nigerians can add economic value to the polity, comparable to the benefits of using the price differentials for infrastructural development across the country.’

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