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Labour, Civil Society Delegates Oppose Fuel Subsidy Removal

Labour and Civil Society delegates at the national conference are not favourably disposed to the recommendation by the Committee on Public Finance,  calling for the total removal of fuel subsidy.

Already, a motion had been prepared by the delegates to oppose the provision of the report of the committee, headed by a former Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Adamu Aliero.

The motion was being sponsored by six delegates while 41 other delegates were listed as co-sponsors.

Those sponsoring the bill are the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Omar Abdulwaheed; President of the Trade Union Congress, Mr. Boboi Kaigama; Civil Society Delegation Leader, Mr. Demi Falana(SAN);NLC Acting General Secretary, Chris Ufot; TUC Gen. Sec. Musa Lawal; and a civil society delegation, Jaye Gaskia.

The committee has recommended the removal of the subsidy because of several reasons, which included the argument that a number of MDAs like the NNPC, NIS, NEITI, FIRS, DMO and other stakeholders expressed concern about the continuation of fuel subsidy and added a voice in support of its removal.

It added that, “Subsidy on petroleum products is a major financial burden the nation has been made to bear. For the period 2006 to 2011, subsidy accounted for 30 per cent of government expenditure which translated to 118 per cenf of capital budget and 4.1 per cent of the GDP? Subsidy payment of N2.627 trillion in 2012 and 2013 averages N1.263 trillion per annum. 

“The removal of subsidy will most certainly ensure product availability at all times and significantly mitigate illicit cross-border activities. The poor and rural dwellers to whom the subsidy scheme was initially targeted are not reaping the benefits.

“Additionally, removal of subsidy will encourage investments in refineries and the downstream sector, generally.

“The committee agrees that this fiscal and financial burden to the government is not sustainable. The committee recommends total removal of subsidy on petroleum products.”

But the group that opposed the removal attributed the huge sum being paid on subsidy to “monumental corruption  in the management of subsidy regime.

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