By Omeiza Ajayi
The ruling All Progressives Congress APC has asked Nigerians to endure the current hardship brought about by the recent hike in fuel pump price and electricity tariff, promising that the people would in the nearest future begin to reap the benefits of the deregulation policy.
It also urged the organized labour not to be swayed by the antics of the opposition whose narratives it described as skewed.
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The party in a statement by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yekini Nabena on Tuesday said “it is not oblivious of the financial strains brought by the increase in fuel pump price and electricity rates. We urge Nigerians to endure now and enjoy gains soon”.
The statement added that the reviews are crucial and hard-thought decisions by government.
“On the positive side, the short and long-term benefits on the citizenry and our national life will become obvious and directly felt in critical sectors such as health, education, infrastructure and social services targeted at the poor.
“We point to shocking estimates by the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER) which reports that the budget for fuel subsidies in 2019 was sufficient to enrol the entire population of Nigeria in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Further, fuel subsidies took over N10 trillion of our national resources since 2006.
“At least, the generality of Nigerians and stakeholders agree on a thousand and one reasons why fuel subsidy has become unsustainable. The perceived benefits of fuel subsidies have long been overtaken by the previous corruption and drain on scarce resources that should be directed to other critical sectors”, the party said.
APC added that in line with the current administration’s deregulation drive and move to increase private-sector participation in the petroleum sector, “the task before us now is to improve our local refining capacities which we are already on course to achieving and maintain a competitive, market-driven, transparent and accountable petroleum pricing template which meets global best practices, particularly in a developing country such as ours”.
“While the government works assiduously to solve the country’s electricity challenges permanently, it realizes that many Nigerians and businesses still rely on alternative sources for power supply to meet electricity needs, hence its current focus on improving electricity and service delivery while also protecting poor and vulnerable Nigerians from arbitrary and estimated electricity billing.
“As with the government’s decision to increase the Nigerian worker’s minimum wage and other social investments, President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration takes the welfare of the citizenry seriously. We call on all stakeholders — government at all levels, private sector organizations, labour unions, civil societies, students and youth groups to support governments decision on the ongoing deregulation exercise as the citizens will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
“We urge stakeholders, particularly the organised labour such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not to be hoodwinked by skewed opposition party narratives on the deregulation exercise and electricity tariffs. The same partisans have failed to account for and return trillions of naira stolen from national coffers in the guise of subsidizing fuel and the degrading of the electricity sector under their watch despite huge allocations and subsequent theft of the resources meant to improve the sector. We urge all to support the current administration’s economic policies to uplift Nigerians”, it added.