By Festus Ahon, ASABA
FORMER Delta State Governorship aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, Tuesday, commended the Federal Government for heeding the lamentations of Nigerians by suspending the removal of fuel subsidy.
Onuesoke who has been critical of the Federal Government’s decision to remove fuel subsidy said the suspension of the fuel subsidy removal has saved the country of another round of protests that would have crippled the nation and thrown Nigerians into unnecessary hardship.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, had on Monday said in Abuja that the Federal Government has suspended plans to remove subsidies on petroleum products till further notice.
The former Governorship aspirant in a statement urged the Federal Government to use the window of the suspension of the subsidy removal to fix the nation’s four refineries to work optimally.
He said: “The only way out over this subsidy issue is for government to get the four refineries working at an optimal level to bring the petroleum products prices to the barest minimum”.
He held that “the issue of paying fuel subsidy will be minimised or totally eradicated hence the oil is drilled and produced within Nigeria, if the Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries are in good working condition.
“The country has no reason for not bringing back its moribund domestic refineries; it is a shame for Nigeria to remain the only OPEC member that imports more than 90 per cent of its refined petroleum needs.
“The precipitous removal of fuel subsidy without making strategic plans or giving particular attention to the domestic refining is tantamount to strangulating hand-to-mouth Nigerians.
“Before the removal of the fuel subsidy in the future, it will indeed be a very good idea for Nigeria to go all out to resuscitate its four comatose refineries and embark on building new others in order to mitigate the consequences of the withdrawal. The poser here is why Nigeria’s four ailing refineries are yet to be resuscitated?”
Vanguard News Nigeria