Oodua coalition backs Tinubu on subsidy removal 

The Oodua coalition backs Tinubu on Tuesday, declared support for  President Bola Tinubu on the  removal of fuel subsidy, insisting the  subsidy removal  regime must go.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the  groups are: Oodua Youths Movement (OYM) Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) Agbekoya, OPC New Era, OPC Reformed among others.

Speaking on behalf of the groups in Lagos, the OYM Leader, Mr Rasak Olokooba said if the present government did not remove subsidy, it would kill the country.

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Oodua coalition backs Tinubu on subsidy removal 

NAN recalls that  Tinubu at  his inaugural speech on May 29, said the Federal Government would not continue to subsidise fuel importation.

NAN recalls  that the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Friday, announced plans  to embark on strike on Wednesday to protest  increase in the pump price of petrol from N184 to N488.

However,  NLC on Monday night suspended the proposed industrial action to enable further  consultation after meeting with the Federal Government delegation at the Aso Rock.

Olokooba, however, appealed to the unions to continue to  dialogue with the government to allow the present administration to  come up with lasting solutions that would drive the development of Nigeria and the welfare of  citizens.

According to him, let us give the new government a chance. The President Bola Tinubu has already begun the most robust move, since 1999, to put the refineries in order and bring them back to work.

Olokooba said that to keep the pump price of petrol at N165 per litre, the Federal Government currently spent  above N600 as subsidy on every litre of fuel consumed in the country.

He said the daily petrol consumption in Nigeria was 66.8 million litres hence, petrol subsidy costs the government N40.1 billion every single day and N1.243 trillion every month.

According to him, due to this subsidy, Nigeria’s economy that depends 90 per cent on petroleum exports for its revenue, and one-third of its GDP, has been recording zero revenue from the sector.

Olokooba wondered why  since  2000, when the Nigerian government gave about 20 refinery licences to private companies,  refineries were not  built except for  Dangote?

“Simple, investors and licence- holders found they cannot  recover their investments due to the artificially low price structure caused by fuel subsidies. Total deregulation of the oil sector is the way to go.

“Why do we think NNPC ended up being the sole importer of fuel to Nigeria? This is because other major importers boycotted importation as the pricing mechanism became neither unrealistic nor profitable.

“In the spirit of free enterprise, we need to let the market dictate and consumers have a choice of purchase. Competition, not monopoly, will bring about lower prices.

“The monopoly of fuel importation by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) alone must be discontinued,” he said.

Olokooba recalled that during the campaigns, Tinubu made no pretence that he would muster the political courage and the political will to take tough and hard decisions.

According to him, One of such hard decisions concerns the issue of fuel subsidy. For this 2023, Nigeria budgeted N11 trillion of its oil revenue on subsidising petrol alone. This cannot continue.

He said this was good money going down the drain, with little or nothing to show for it, adding that the huge amount could be channelled into solving the nation’s several deficits.

“The deficits include  Infrastructural, housing, education, healthcare, and generally upgrading the quality of life for Nigerians as it will  also help strengthen the naira.”

He noted that if fuel prices appeared to be on the high side today due to deregulation, the situation could only be temporary.

Olokooba said Nigerians should borrow lessons from the telecommunications industry, saying when the market opened, people bought SIM cards for as much as N50,000.

He said: “In the face of stiff competition within the GSM industry, SIM cards today cost no more than N150, and sometimes free-of-charge.

“This will happen in the oil industry. We must see NNPC as the equivalent of the NITEL in the telecommunications industry.

“NNPC monopoly is one factor leading to high cost of petrol. In reality, Nigerians are paying for the greed of a cabal on the altar of corruption. Subsidy must go!” (NAN)