'Don't Remove Subsidy On Petroleum Products'

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A former Commissioner for Agriculture in Delta, Mr. Jerry Ossai, has urged the Federal Government to reconsider the reported plan to remove subsidy on petroleum products.

Ossai told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba that the proposal would put a greater burden on the ordinary people and urged the government to have a re-think on the issue.

A practising farmer, Ossai said farmers were already faced with enough challenges such as lack of funds and poor road network which often made evacuation of farm produce to markets difficult.

He said removing subsidy on fuel as was being proposed would compound the burden of farmers and other citizens.

“If the cost of petroleum products goes up, cost of transportation will also go up, and we all know what that will mean to the average person,” he said.

Ossai said while government might be trying to check wastage in its finances with the subsidy removal, the effect would be a vicious cycle of poverty.

“For example, the major component for feeding my pigs is used grains from the brewery and the distance from my farm to the brewery in Onitsha is about 40 kilometers.

“Currently, I buy a truck-load of the spent grain at between N7,000 and N10,000. I transport the same at the cost of between N15,000 and N20,000.

“If the prices of petroleum products go up, it might cost me between N20,000 and N25,000 to transport the same quantity of grain and its price at the brewery may also rise and the ripple effect will go round.

“It is a vicious cycle; the government might think it is trying to raise revenue for the economy but it is at the same time impoverishing the common man,” he said.