Oil Subsidy: House Of Reps Member Caution FG
A member of the House of Representatives, representing Owan Federal Constituency in Edo State, Hon. Peter Akpattason has warned at that President Goodluck Jonathan should prepare to contain violence from the masses after the removal of fuel subsidy.
Akpattason, a former labour union leader, who advocated for a phased removal of subsidy, told huhuonline.com at the Benin Airport that 'the Nigerian economy is unripe for fuel subsidy removal as it has no price regulating mechanisms apart from a systemic corruption that has ensured the unaccountability of past subsidies.
'Fuel subsidy removal at this time is not ideal. The timing is wrong. It is wrong in the sense that the right investment climate, a conducive atmosphere for investment that will promote competition in the industry and help to regulate pricing is not yet attained. Until we attain that level of competition, it is not appropriate to remove fuel subsidy. What is important at this point in time is to start working towards achieving economic priority where the level of manipulation will be curtailed; where investors will be encouraged to come in and set up refineries.
'It is important that while doing these, plans should be on to investigate those short comings that have been identified in the present regime of subsidy. If as they are complaining, 'this money is not getting to the right people,' why is it not getting there? Then deal with those who are manipulating the system. Until that is done, it is totally uncalled for anybody to embark on removing fuel subsidy.
'Secondly, the argument that the money will be used for development is not tenable because over the years, they have been telling us the same story. All the way from Abacha era, it has always been if we increase petrol prices, the revenue that would be generated from that would be used to build roads, bridges and the rest of them. But the whole thing has gone on like magic to the year 2000, where we had thought that we would be somewhere in health, education and security.
'Look at where we are. The same thing would happen with fuel subsidy. After, there would be high inflation which would make life unbearable for Nigerians; which would further reduce the already abysmally low purchasing power of the ordinary Nigerian citizen.
'I foresee inflation, poverty, penury, crisis and violence if the oil subsidy is eventually removed. Our position has always been that there are conditions precedents upon deregulation. I will personally advocate a phased removal after attaining some levels of competition', he asserted.