Monday, January 9, 2012

Removal of fuel subsidy (1)

9 January 2012

THE sudden removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government on January 1, 2012 not only jolted the sensibilities of Nigerians, it came against the grain of public opinion that it was ill-timed. The general prediction, which is already playing out, is that the increase in fuel price that would inevitably follow the subsidy removal would escalate inflation in virtually all spheres of life, and Nigerians can only be the worse for it. That the government did not wait for a more enduring consensus on the issue before rushing its implementation is an affront to citizens as a whole.

Amid global celebration of a New Year and reflection on the past year, Nigerians were shocked by the removal of ‘oil subsidy’ by the government through its agency, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). The PPPRA jacked up the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol from N65 to N141. The decision was made public by means of a statement it posted on its website, a channel to which most Nigerians have no access. Besides, Nigerians had yet to agree to the rationale for the removal of oil subsidy, if there was one, while government was reportedly considering a later date for the deregulation exercise.

The government’s action showcased an outright display of disdain for the sensibility of Nigerians. Removing the ‘oil subsidy’ on PMS at this time, and without concrete measures on ground to cushion its effect, is bound to inflict excruciating pains on the people.

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