By Luminous Jannamike
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has expressed its opinion on the issue of subsidy removal in Nigeria, saying that while it is a necessary evil for the economic development of the country, it would have been better to implement it at a more suitable time.
This is in view of existing laws such as the Petroleum Industry Act 2022 and appropriation Act 2023, as well as the President’s commitment to govern by the rule of law.
Briefing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, IPAC National Chairman, Engr. Yabagi Sani, also urged the government to set up a forensic enquiry on the subsidy regime to uncover any perceived corruption in the sector.
The call came in the wake of President Bola Tinubu’s recent expression of his desire to end fuel subsidy in Nigeria.
While acknowledging the urgency of addressing the dire economic situation of the country, IPAC believes that a forensic audit of the subsidy regime is necessary to ensure transparency and accountability in the sector.
According to the IPAC National Chairman, this would involve auditing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Central Bank of Nigeria, oil marketers, and other players in the value chain of the subsidy era.
Yabagi Sani said, “For us at the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), the issue of subsidy removal though at the heart of the economic development of Nigeria and a necessary evil, and of course Mr. President must have been overwhelmed by the urgency of the need to address the dire economic situation of the country to have expressed his desire.
“However, in our candid opinion, it would rather have been done at a more suitable time in view of the fact of the Petroleum Industry Act 2022 and appropriation Act 2023, the extant laws, as well as Mr. President’s pronouncement in his inaugural speech was clear that he will govern by the rule of law.
“The new government must as a matter of urgency set up a forensic enquiry on the subsidy regime to unravel the secrecy and obvious perception of large-scale corruption in the sector. The NNPC, CBN, Marketers and the players in the value chain of the subsidy era should be properly audited.
“Government should also address the issue of oil theft, metering of the sector infrastructure, while pursuing fiscal policy measures to progressively manage the economic interventions.
“Going forward, the NNPC and all relevant agencies should be made to operate transparently and accountable in its dealings.
“In addition, the federal government as a matter of priority should strengthen the law enforcement agencies, particularly the anti-graft agencies to effectively enforce their mandates. These interventions will reinforce the confidence of Nigerians that subsidy removal will not be more fuel for corruption.”