10 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Houston, Texas – A civil society group, Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has said the Federal Government must immediately remove the subsidy on petrol in order to resolve the challenges in the downstream sector of the industry.
A statement from CESJET’s Executive Secretary, Comrade Ikpa Isaac, on Monday, described keeping the subsidy in place as a black hole that could destroy the nation’s economy if it is not closed up.
It stated that it is evident that all options for sustaining the practice have been exhausted without the desired impact, adding that the continuous payment of subsidy on petrol without any meaningful benefit on the nation’s economy.
The statement noted that combination of the fuel crisis and the weakened national currency have made life into a living hell for citizens who are being forced to pay higher amounts to black marketers and extortionist petrol stations that openly sell above the subsidized price.
it noted that, “The Federal Government must accept that the situation around fuel supply is no longer about saving face or living up to political promises.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has to face the glaring reality that the huge amount pouring into the black hole that the subsidy is cannot be sustained. Continuing to pour money down this black hole instead of plugging it could destroy the economy.”
According to the group, “It is clear for all to see now that all the efforts and strategies for keeping subsidy on petrol in place have failed irretrievably on account of constant theft and volatility of the global economy. As a nation, we cannot continue to be obstinate about this since as a producer, petrol would still naturally sell below global prices once local refining capacity is improved.
“It is true that the Occupy Protests of 2012 fought the government at that time to a standstill to retain subsidy payment. But the Occupy Protests that could occur in 2016 would rather be insisting that subsidy must be discontinued within hours if the federal government does not act promptly.
“We are confident that the fundamentals and the variables have changed with the incumbent government in place and we are therefore confident that the removal of subsidy at this point will work more in favour of Nigerians than against them. All we are asking at this point is that the government stops the prolonged suffering Nigerians have endured,” the statement added.
It called on Nigerians to show understanding with the government and to offers suggestions on how life can be made better for all in the post subsidy era and that they must continue to call for the prosecution of those that robbed the nation under the guise of collecting subsidy.