Rejects proposed N2.8trn transportation allowance to poorest Nigerians
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had announced that the government would remove fuel subsidy and replace it with a monthly N5,000 transport grant to 40 million poor Nigerians.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has threatened to shut down the country if the Federal Government implements the planned fuel subsidy removal.
The students’ body also rejected the government’s plan to pay N5,000 transport allowance to 40 million Nigerians to cushion the effect of soaring fuel prices. Addressing Journalists in Abuja on Friday, NANS President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, said the union would mobilise its 41 million members across the country to protest what it called a “strange proposal.”
Asefon however, noted that with the present economic realities, it was wrong for government to contemplate something as critical as deregulating the petroleum sector “without thinking it through, without consultation and without a robust debate.”
He described the move as a plan by government to get money at all costs to squander and finance the ostentatious lifestyles of public officers and senior civil servants, adding that any attempt to aggravate the economic woes of Nigerians would not only be unconscionable but reckless.
He said: “Nigerians are really suffering. We are in dire socioeconomic straits. We are weeping in our hearts and souls. We are dying in silence. We feel the agony and anguish because we are practically involved.“
“It will amount to testing the patience of Nigerians too far. And we wish to warn against it. The country is very stretched and tensed. In case the government is not aware, we are passing them this intelligence free of charge now. Again we advise, let the government not stretch it further.“
The consequences will be dire. The people are already flamed. Mendacity will beget mendacity NANS is happy that the organised labour and civil society groups have all rejected the proposal.
“We shall ensure that the entire country is shut down and paralysed should the Federal Government proceed with its insensitive plan of deregulation, or even any further increase in the pump price of fuel. We have had enough.“
We know that neo-liberal and imperial economists will soon emerge to confuse themselves with some well rehearsed stale analysis and commentaries.
“It is therefore very strange that the Federal Government could contemplate the removal of fuel subsidy now. The four refineries are not functioning, and if they are functioning at all, it is at a near zero level.“
There is a zero consultation with stakeholders to even consider issues around deregulation and why it should or should not be. The survival of Nigerian workers and their wards is yet to be discussed, yet a date that may take lives out of them have been fixed.
“Furthermore, inflation is already passing a skyrocket level. So we may need to find a word to describe the kind of inflation that will be experienced if the pump price of PMS goes above 200 percent.”
In fact, we are very convinced that the Federal Government is acting impulsively on a matter as sensitive as this. And our conviction is based on many things that cannot just add up. Beyond the issues already raised, let us consider the following economic confusions:
“In 2022 Appropriation Bill, the FG already provided for fuel subsidy. One then wonders why it will provide for what it plans to eliminate.“
Upon which data did the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning determine that only 40 million Nigerians are vulnerable? And what is the definition of vulnerability in our socioeconomic context?
Where does she intend to generate the money which will be paid to those 40 million Nigerians since there is no provision for it in 2022 Appropriation Bill?” Asefon urged the government to rescind the plan till adequate arrangements like refining at home and utilising the nation’s petrochemical by-products are made[carousel_slide id='8496']
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