A two-term Lagos lawmaker, Mr Jude Idimogu, has urged Nigerians and labour unions to show understanding with President Bola Tinubu’s administration on removal of fuel subsidy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Tinubu announced the removal of petrol subsidy on May 29 in his inaugural address as the 16th President of Nigeria.
Idimogu, representing Oshodi-Isolo Constituency II in the Lagos State House of Assembly, told Newsmen on Friday in Lagos that the removal of fuel subsidy remained a bold step and catalyst for Nigeria’s growth and development.
The lawmaker, who is also the Deputy Apex Leader, Ndigbo in Lagos State APC, said that Tinubu’s antecedents of compassion would not leave ordinary Nigerians suffering but would make efforts to cushion the effects.
“I want to appeal to Nigerians and the workers’ unions to show understanding and give the new President total support on this and encourage him.
“The issue is that subsidy is a waste of resources and the resources are not there to continue. The subsidy regime is only benefitting some people to the detriment of the masses.
“If Nigerians desire growth and development, subsidy regime must go for the masses to breathe,” Idimogu said.
He said that subsidy, which was expected to have ended in 2022, had not benefitted the majority of Nigerians.
According to him, the country already has a debt burden of over N77 trillion and over 96 per cent of the nation’s revenue is used to service debts.
“If this continues, the much-expected renewed hope the President promised the masses will not come through. The country cannot survive if the President does not remove subsidy.
“This removal is a good thing and right step in the right direction,” the lawmaker said.
He, however, implored the government to encourage other importers who had ability to import fuel, apart from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL), to create competition.
“NNPC should not have the monopoly of being the only supplier of refined petroleum products. I know when competition is involved, the prices will definitely come down.
“The removal of subsidy will also eliminate smuggling of subsidised fuel to neighbouring countries,” he said.
The lawmaker advocated that more education should be given to the masses on the subsidy and the organised theft involved in the regime.
“Palliatives are coming out, there is no way Tinubu won’t bring out palliatives to cushion this effects, especially, on the downtrodden. Tinubu is a compassionate leader,” Idimogu said.
He said that both government and private workers should not be afraid at all, as the president had the antecedence of compassion and populist governance.
“Government has to have stakeholders’ meetings with captains of industries to prevent retrenchment and to cater for those in informal sectors to understand the government’s policy and cushion the effects.
“I want to appeal to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to understand the situation and the step the president is taking. Let us face the reality, with time we will get it.
“If we cannot service our debts again, the economy will collapse when your creditors refuse to bring in more money. We cannot continue to borrow for consumption. At the end of the day, this step will benefit the economy,” he said.
He urged the government to work hard on price control and commodity board agencies.