Paper 72: Energy – fuel subsidy

The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to remove subsidy on the 1st of January 2012 was ill-timed. There are competing alternatives to the specific decision that offer mutually rewarding and a win-win prospect for the government and people of Nigeria.

The country’s House of Representatives’s resolution asking the executive to reverse the decision strongly indicated that there was no consensus on subsidy at the topmost level of government.

A major argument canvassed by government has been the need to eliminate avenue for corruption and waste and the ultimate need to turn such subsidy expenditure into savings. It is however unlikely that ordinary folks would show sympathy for government’s position or her quest for additional funds if they are yet to see the impact of previous monies. Africa’s most populous nation must therefore actively and effectively utilize existing traceable income from crude-oil to fix her ailing infrastructure and her moribund refineries before embarking upon complete deregulation of her downstream. Such actions would enable the people of Nigeria to have confidence and hope in government.

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