From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Bola Tinubu has directed the National Economic Council (NEC) led by Vice President Kashim Shettima to kickstart the process of working on interventions to ameliorate the impact of fuel subsidy removal on citizens.
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents after leading some major oil marketers on a visit to Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
He said the marketers were in the villa in solidarity with the president for his bold decision to end subsidy payment.
Tinubu’s action, he said, shows his determination and courage to remove the monster that had bedeviled the country for decades.
The governor said while there would be some discomfort on the people, the move would eventually pay off, saying there can be no gains without pains.
After yesterday’s meeting, the marketers announced their intention to donate 50 to 100 mass transit buses (at the cost of about N100 million each) as a way to support the initiative to succeed, calling on other well meaning corporate bodies to do the same.
The Ogun Governor stressed that any actions taken, such as increase in minimum wage, transportation allowances, or intervention programmes, would only serve as temporary solutions. He said the real solution lies in transitioning to clean energy for the entire country.
He said diesel and petrol-powered vehicles are no longer feasible, adding that Nigeria should follow the example of other countries, such as Egypt, where mass transit runs on compressed natural gas (CNG), and some vehicles run on electricity.
“These will be what will be sustainable that will allow us to transport people, goods and services at prices that are reasonable. That is the kind of thing that we are looking at, the kind of discussions that we’re having with Mr President and the kind of approach that this administration looking at in terms of sustainability.”
Abiodun noted that some states have already introduced some interventions including reducing working days, assuring that the subsidy removal would make more money available to them through the Federation Account Allocation Commission (FAAC).
Chairman Depot and Petroleum Products Markerters Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), and Managing Director of Northwest Petroleum & Gas Company Limited, Winifred Akpani, said it was an opportunity they had waited for a long time and praised President Tinubu for having the courage and boldness to implement the fuel subsidy removal policy.
She said the removal of subsidy is not all about making transportation more expensive, but repositioning the country.
She said Nigeria has been feeding the whole of sub-Saharan Africa with fuel and that since the full deregulation came into effect, prices of fuel in all the neighbouring countries have shot up with only Niger Republic selling the cheapest at about N580 per liter, because “they were all feeding on Nigeria’s fuel.”
On the donation of the mass transit buses she said: “And we all collectively agreed that we’re going to work at providing real mass transit buses that work, the ones that run on CNG, which is a compressed natural gas and diesel interchangeably, and hopefully we’re going to start with about 50 to 100. And that is in the very, very short term and these are locally produced.”