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PRIVATE SECTOR ENDORSES FUEL SUBSIDY REMOVAL

By NBF News
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Nigeria's organised private sector yesterday endorsed Federal Government's decision to fully deregulate the downstream  petroleum sector through removal of oil subsidy. The position of the captains of industry was made public at the Presidential Villa, at the end of the two-day presidential retreat with the private sector on economic development and job creation.

This is even as the Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said the private sector involved in the production of goods and services have stopped enjoying subsidy on diesel, low fuel oil and natural gas for the past 10 years, as they have been paying market price.

Dangote also blamed the late President Umar Musa Yar'Adua administration for not implementing the 2008 fuel subsidy removal agreement reached with Labour, adding, however, that is was senseless for government to be borrowing to funding it's projects which was killing the future of Nigerians.

Publisher of Thisday, Nduka Obaigbena, read out the endorsement, which was signed by 42 out of 45 private sector participants.

The decisions reached, he said are: 'That the current regimes of subsidies in the pump price of petroleum product is inefficient, corrupt and a waste of scarce national resources.

'That the majority of Nigerian citizens do not enjoy the benefit of the current subsidy of petroleum product today; rather the subsidy itself operate to the benefits of very few beneficiaries.

'That the financial burden of subsidy is unsustainable and untenable in our nation where critical infrastructure, human and capital development are in dear need of investment.'

He said that the group noted: 'That the Federal Government of Nigeria has promised to consult widely with the labour organisation, civil societies and other stakeholders to ensure a high level of engagement on the deregulated regarding the benefit of a deregulated price regime, particularly the impact on the improved livelihood of Nigerians.'

Governor Peter Obi in his remark said: 'Like  the  private sector has done today, we had done our own. The fuel subsidy is not sustainable. We do not have the funding to sustain such waste. What ever is saved from the removal of subsidy can be applied properly in rebuilding our infrastructure which will  eventually bring about turn around in competitiveness doing business  in Nigeria and businesses that will employ people will come in.'