Fuel subsidy removal: Labour urges govt to thread with caution

23 March 2013, Lagos — PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s insistence on removing fuel subsidy, a matter that drove the polity to the edge of the precipice in January 2012, is eliciting mixed reactions from all sections of the polity with Organised Labour and some leaders warning him not to dare Nigerians as doing so would be playing with fire..

Speaking at the 2013 Nigeria Summit on Tuesday in Lagos, President Jonathan unveiled a platform of economic development for the country, which he predicated on full removal of fuel subsidy.

Reactions to the president’s statement, yesterday, were varied. While some completely opposed it and warned that Jonathan was playing with fire, others backed removal of fuel subsidy. And yet another group premised their support on conditions that must be met by the government.

There is nothing like fuel subsidy – David-West
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Prof. Tam David-West advised President Jonathan not to rupture the peace of the country by increasing pump price of petroleum products.

Speaking with newsmen in Ibadan, yesterday, the don said the increase of fuel price was nothing but fraud.

“I expected the President to have been converted by now that there is no subsidy and that it is all fraud. He should be converted to save the poor people from suffering. Even the government investigation has confirmed that there is no subsidy. The government has also given the public 10 different figures. The inconsistency of the government is like amoeba; the subsidy has no fixed shape. As amoeba changes shape, so does President Jonathan’s fuel subsidy change. This shows that they are not sure,” he said.

Reps divided
Members of the House of Representatives were divided over the issue. While some lawmakers condemned the president’s planned total withdrawal of oil subsidy, some insisted that he could go ahead provided the rail transport, bad roads and oil refineries are fixed.

Chairman, House Committee on Anti-Corruption, Abiodun Faleke said: “It is absurd and should be rejected. What has been done with SURE P funds? He should concentrate on recovery of the looted funds by the subsidy thieves. He should block all loopholes in the subsidy process.”

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