10 October 2011, Sweetcrude, Uyo – The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has called for a gradual and phased withdrawal of fuel subsidy rather than outright removal as proposed by the Nigerian government.
Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State branch of IPMAN, Mr. Victor Etefia, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Uyo on Sunday that the gradual withdrawal would help to cushion the effect of the removal when eventually it was removed.
He said, “I am advocating gradual removal of the oil subsidy in phases and not the type proposed by government.
“I had expected government to call the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and all stakeholders in the country to a dialogue on best possible ways to remove the subsidy, without the citizenry feeling the pain as well as on what the government intends to spend the money so realised.’’
Etefia said since the removal of the subsidy would have a chain effect on Nigerians, there was a need for proper sensitisation.
He suggested that the Nigerian government should set up an action plan, in phases, on what aspects of the economy would be tackled to cushion the effect of the removal.
The IPMAN boss said, “If government says in 2012, we will use the money realised on revamping the health sector for instance, if all the hospitals are equipped with drugs, equipment and qualified personnel to meet the standard, then Nigerians will not complain.
“Because it means then that when government is taking something from you, they are indirectly investing it in another area for the benefit of the people, and this means progress and development for the country.”
Etefia explained that the problem in Nigeria was that of leadership, “as the leaders think more of themselves than their followers, which places the level of sincerity and commitment in doubt.”