News

February 22, 2024

Naira will never rise unless… says Arewa Economic Forum tasks Tinubu to re -think fuel subsidy

Naira will never rise unless… says Arewa Economic Forum tasks Tinubu to re -think fuel subsidy

…Says Huge funds with govs not trickling down

…Calls for Constabulary instead of  State Police

Emma Ujah,   Abuja Bureau Chief 

The Arewa Economic Forum (AEF) has asked President Bola Tinubu to re-think the fuel subsidy removal policy.

The Chairman of the Forum, Mal Ibrahim Dandakata, who addressed a press conference, in Abuja, this afternoon, said that the suffering occasioned by the policy had become unbearable to ordinary Nigerians.

“To be fair to him, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu made it unambiguously clear during the electioneering campaign that he would remove fuel subsidy if he won the election.

” What he didn’t however warn Nigerians of is the unprecedented hardship this singular decision will cause for our people. But fuel subsidy removal is not all about bad news.

Huge funds with govs

 “It has at least caused massive increase in the monies shared at the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings with states going away with humongous figures on a monthly basis.

 “But how has more money for governors to play with affected the lives of the masses? How? 

“We at the AEF have found out that the huge sums of money available to state governors are not trickling down because the governors are not investing in areas that will reflate the state economy and are not committed to providing palliatives for the people.

“A check we conducted on recent FAAC allocations has shown that some of the states have had their allocations increased by up to 90 percent with little or no improvement in the lives of the people. The percentage increase in the allocations to states after fuel subsidy removal is humongous. 

“We are therefore using this platform to call on President Tinubu to reverse the subsidy removal policy and use the extra money FAAC has been giving to the states to resume paying subsidy on PMS. 

“The President should do this urgently if he knows he can’t find a way within the limit of his constitutional powers and political influence to make the governors more accountable to the people.”

Forex Crisis

The forum urged the president to take necessary steps to arrest the free-fall of the Naira at the foreign exchange market. 

According to Mal. Dandakata, “We are also of the opinion that the federal government must summon adequate political will to arrest the free fall of the Naira compared to the rising dollar.

 “Dollar is not a legal tender in Nigeria. The government should therefore ban the practice of keeping dollars at home or in offices, and clampdown on all hoarders of dollars.

“The government should also investigate why dollars go up after every FAAC meeting.  

“Relevant government agencies should also ban the practice of paying for goods and services online in dollars. Everything must be in Naira as far as it is done by a Nigerian in Nigeria. 

“If we don’t stop our obsession with the dollar, our Naira will never rise.”

On the proposed State Police, the AEF warned that State Governors would abuse the system and use State Police against their political opponents.

The Chairman said, “We have also noticed the seeming rush by the President and governors to put together a state policing system to combat the rising insecurity in the country. 

“While we admit that state police is a good concept on its own which works for other nations, we are however against the idea of empowering our governors with a tool they are most likely to use for political witch-hunting. 

“On the contrary, as concerned citizens ourselves, we are proposing that federal government should revive and expand the Police Constabulary and provide for it the logistics needed to support security agencies to combat crimes at local levels.

“The state governments, who are desirous of such policing at their level, should be made to provide the missing logistics for it to function well in terms of operational costs and allowances.”

The forum Called on governors to pay attention to agriculture through irrigation and provision of lands for semi-mechanised farming.