By Hassan Haruna Ginsau
The chairman, committee on Public finance and revenue at the National conference, Adamu Aliero has said his committee is in full support of the removal of the fuel subsidy.
In a brief interview with our reporter, Aliero said his committee had discussed the need for the removal of this subsidy because currently “they did not see its use.” He noted that the subsidy which was designed to help the masses was not impacting them.
“Those who are supposed to be benefiting from it are not. It has reached a point where petrol producing areas are buying petrol anywhere from N160- N180 per litre. In some parts of the North, it is sold for N140- N150 per litre, and it is the common man that is using his resources to buy petrol at this rate.
In places like Abuja, Lagos, and other big cities people even buy it for more than that. Therefore we are not in support of the continued subsidisation of petrol because there is a diversion from people that are supposed to benefit from it.
He noted that if the subsidy is removed, there will be an available N1.7 trillion every year, which the committee proposed should be used for development of infrastructure such as construction of roads, railways, hospitals, universities, the dredging of the River Benue, solid mineral mining, amongst other developmental projects.
The committee also proposed that it shouldn’t be used in the way of recurrent expenditure, rather the money that is gotten from the removal should be solely used for capital expenditure.
Speaking on whether the removal would spark protests from Nigerians similar to those experienced in January 2013, Aliero said if people are properly enlightened on the issue, there will be no unrest regarding the removal.
“Since we cannot continue to use the money as it was being used in the past. It should be used for nation building, and the development of Nigeria.”
The committee also proposed that a committee be set up to ensure that any project been carried out using money that emanates from the removal of the subsidy is done properly and completed.
The NNPC restated its call for the removal of the subsidy last week when it met with the National conference’s committee on power, noting that the implementation of the fuel subsidy regime in the pricing template of petroleum products amounted to over N2 trillion drain on Nigeria’s resources.