23rd November, 2011
Since 1999 when Nigeria again embracedÂ democracy, its citizens have not stopped complaining about some policies introduced by their rulers. But it has become certain that if the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration does not immediately rescind some of the policies it is trying to introduce, this Christmas will be one of the bleakest in the country.
A major one with far reaching consequence on the already fallen standard of living in the country is the proposal for the removal of fuel subsidy, which is now tearing the country apart and pitching the people against the government of the day.
We want to state categorically that we are not satisfied with the arguments put up by the President and his team on the gains that would result in the removal of fuel subsidy.
If he goes ahead to implementÂ the policy, then, his â€˜transformation agendaâ€™ would have been punctured and the hopes of the electorate, who trouped out en-masse to vote for him in the last presidential election, would be dashed.
President Jonathan should be concerned that under his adminstration, the price of kerosene and diesel became abnormal jumping from N40 per litre for kerosene to between N100 and N120 per litre while diesel skyrocketed to between N160 and N180.
During the electioneering campaign in Lagos State, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, while reeling out the achievements of President Jonathan within the eight months preceding the election, told a crowd that the President was worried with the price of the products and had ordered that the country be flooded with kerosene.
Kerosene indeed flooded the country, but it was for a while. After the elections, the pump price of the product began to rise steadily. Today, it is between N170 and N200 per litre. Yet, the people can hardly get this product, one that is most consumed by the average Nigerian.
In the heat of the debate on the proposed subsidy removal, the government thought it could satisfy the citizens by positing that subsidy on kerosene would remain and that it is the one on the premium motor spirit, also known as petrol that would be removed.
However many more questions arise from that attempt to convince the people. One of this bothers on the amount spent on subsidising the pump price of kerosene which has been shrouded in secrecy. Another is the fact that even with the subsisting subsidy; kerosene has become â€˜goldâ€™. Why then has the government decided to add to the suffering of the people.
While the debate is still on-going, the federal government, through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), has refused to grant permission to the marketers for them to import petrol.
As a result, there is panic buying in some states; black marketers have again resurfaced in others, while motorists have begun to increase the cost of transportation.
We criticise this move and join other Nigerians to ask that the government should reverse these moves because they are not in the best interest of the country. It is not too late for the government to refrain from further throwing the people into hopelessness.