By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) in Kaduna state, Rev.Joseph John Hayab has said that the present administration has always come up with policies and programs that can only benefit those in their cycle.
Reacting to the plan by the government to remove oil subsidies and start paying N5000 to 40,000 poor Nigerians, Rev.Hayab told Vanguard in an exclusive interview, that many who buy petrol to power their generators, do not have bank accounts.
“Are they aware that many who buy simple petrol to put in their generator for small businesses do not have bank accounts and will not be captured in their 5000 naira monthly distributions?”
“If Nigeria’s current population is truly about 218 million as claimed. What will be the benefit of the over 170 million Nigerians since those to benefit will be 40 million? How can a national policy be only for a few when in reality almost 90 per cent of citizens have something to do with fuel either through Okada and Keke napep, Bus commuters, grinding machines, salons, etc.
Is this Government pretending not to know that whenever there is a new pump price for petrol everything in the market will go up?”
“There is simple arithmetic on circulation on social media on how if you calculate 5000 nairas by 40 million people monthly you will end up paying more with only a few people to benefit while the larger populations will suffer.”
“I see this ill advice initiative as a cheap way to steal poor people money because if you do not get the monthly allowance the pains you will experience trying to rectify the matter will make you prefer to forfeit it and that will only give room for a new channel of corruption.”
“World bank will always advise our leaders to do what they know is not practicable in Africa.
Leaders in America and Europe have good structures in place for world bank policies and programs. Whereas in Africa we have no policies and structures that can make some of this advice impact people but it will only make those in Government or power supper rich at the expense of the masses,” he said.
Immediate past Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum ( ACF), Anthony NZ Sani, said “social investment in any clime is not a bad idea at all, precisely because it is meant to reduce the inequality that is often a recipe for instant ability. But I do not believe using the removed petroleum subsidy and paying only 40m Nigerians monthly stipend of N5,000:00 per person can add value to the polity.”
“This is because it would not help the beneficiaries in view of the galloping inflation while making the economy poorer at the same time. More so that it would be a short time measure. It is, therefore, a waste of resources.”
“My take on how to manage the challenges posed by subsidy which is not sustainable is for the government to hands-off petroleum subsidy by deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector and allow market forces to determine the prices of petroleum that is in state of flux. And in order to appease the labour unions, the government should create an agency akin to the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund to deploy the removed petroleum subsidy on the improvement of both the quality and volume of infrastructure that would benefit the larger society,” he said.