Nigeria: The politics and economics of fuel subsidy

04 January 2016, Lagos – That fuel subsidy is not the problem and inevitably necessary is never in doubt. What made fuel subsidy seem unwanted as it is being advocated by the same cabal and politicians whose partnership sabotage and milk the country is their readiness to use its absence to unleash economic hardship on the weakest members of the society. And that damaging blow will come as soon as the cabal arms itself with such a dangerous monopolistic weapon as price fixing.

*Fuel queues dot the landscape.

*Fuel queues dot the landscape.

One of the benefits this will guarantee this thieving cabal is the very fact that it will give the Nigerian government and people a new set of problems to be preoccupied with to the extent that no one should be talking about the trillions of naira that they stole from us in the name of fuel subsidy. In other words, what in reality they are trying to remove from our attention is the very fact that the failure of fuel subsidy policy happens because of the immense corruption smuggled into the fuel subsidy regime.

That is why rather than advocating how to do away with this immense corruption inherent in the implementation of this policy, they are about successfully having their way, thanks to the success of employing powerful instruments of the state – from having our prepaid lawmakers who are today in unison singing the song of fuel subsidy removal along with some journalists and mass media owners. Our so-called public analysts and civil society organisations were the first to be won over. The only people who are still standing in their way because they are difficult to be bribed are the leaders of our various labour unions.

All as a result, and the fact that they have always successfully held the country to ransom, including the ongoing one, the President is in a serious dilemma on how to patriotically resolve this problem. While the present economic reality is forcing him to think about its removal, he is at odds with how to ensure that the masses of this country are not going to be further short-changed as a result of this hasty removal of fuel subsidy.

Of course, what is not being discussed is that no matter what, there will always be subsidy in one way or another, especially if government intends to ensure that we have a uniform pump price of fuel across the nation no matter how distantly remote some gas stations will be from either the refineries or the depots. That is because otherwise pump price differences could be so high from one part of the nation to another to as high as 1000 per cent, if at all there is fuel in these gas stations.

  • Daily Independent
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