LCCI projects positive economic recovery by Q2

By Yinka Kolawole

Against the backdrop of the announcement by the federal government to postpone the planned removal of fuel subsidy, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have proposed phased removal of the subsidy, to be accompanied with wider consultations with major stakeholders.

Director General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, stated: “While we support the full implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 and the total deregulation of the oil and gas sector, we are not insensitive to the plight of the masses that may feel the pains of some of the provisions like the removal of fuel subsidies. Since the announcement of the planned removal of fuel subsidies, there have been numerous reactions expressing displeasure and readiness to stage protests against the planned action. The government on the other hand had expressed its concerns about the unsustainable subsidy payment which has become a strain on government revenue.

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“In the face of this dilemma, we recommend that the removal is phased and with a complement of heavy investment in critical infrastructure that supports production in the economy.

“The Federal Government must consider doing all that is possible not to truncate the implementation of the PIA 2021 which has already brought so much hope for industry watchers as a big game-changer for the oil and gas sector.”

Also commenting, Director General, NACCIMA, Amb Ayo Olukanni, said:    “We acknowledge the government’s dilemma and difficulties for an enduring solution to the issue of removal of petroleum subsidy, especially the prices of PMS. 

This decision to move the date and suspend subsidy removal beyond June is therefore not surprising. While it appears as kicking the can down the road again, it is a welcome development.

“It is absolutely necessary to consider a practical and acceptable implementation plan in the quest to gradually weaning the public off petrol subsidy and cushion the impact with appropriate palliatives. This can only be done in consultation with organized labour and other stakeholders including the private sector.

“Government is therefore encouraged to widen consultations on the issue and work out an implementation plan which will fully reflect input from the widest range of stakeholders and be acceptable to all.”

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