YNaija Editorial: #OnFuelSubsidyRemoval – Is this government by confusion?

Whatever it is, this is certainly not leadership. This is by no means governance. This is just sad.

 

Honestly, it is difficult to understand what exactly is going on with the government’s removal of petroleum subsidy. For one, Mr President went to the National Assembly and made no mention of subsidy removal (for the subsidy to remain there has to be a line item for it in the 2012 budget) – obviously a strategy to sneak in the controversial measure and avoid the predictable backlash.

But is it really?

Because according to some newspaper reports, the coordinating minister for the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, indicated that subsidy removal has been put on hold because the government has now decided to consult with religious organisations, youth groups and the general public before going ahead.

This is strange indeed. Considering that the government has been planning to let go of the subsidy for many months now – how is it possible that engagement with civil society has taken so long and is so disorganised as to be farcical?

Or is there some other kind of “engagement” going on? The kind that led irate youth from the Niger Delta to hold the Minister of Youth hostage demanding to be part of a town hall with the president? The kind that led the National Youth Council and other questionable youth ‘representatives’ to sing the praises of subsidy removal, a position so averse to any sampling of the youth opinion? Or is it that rumoured to go along with gifts of all kinds?

Save for the state governors – who support the subsidy because more money comes to them as revenue, without the government making any subtractions for the nebulous subsidy – there is no evidence of any other group of Nigerians in support of this measure.

What is apparent is that the government wants Nigerians to pay for its own inefficiency. For instance, there yet remains no clarity as to how exactly our fuel important cycle runs – even as the Minister for Petroleum incredulously told the National Assembly that there is no “cabal” in her sector.

The government says the country has spent up to 1.3 trillion on subsidy in the past year, however last year’s budget provision was only N240 billion. Several requests for clarity are met with dubious silence – as it continues to be obvious that someone believes a deliberate strategy of obfuscation is desirable in this bid to have the pump price of petrol increased by over 100 per cent.

No need for any fine play on words – it’s the more you look, the less you see.

First, it is difficult to get a complete grip of the famous 2012 budget anywhere in the publicly available space. For those who have it is interesting that there is no line item that even refers to the fuel subsidy in the first place. What does this mean – it has disappeared into thin air?

Second, a question – if the government is so desperate to find money to invest in infrastructure, why has it so stridently refused to give in to public pressure to start the cost cutting from its own chambers?  That will show its willingness to undertake sacrifice before demanding same of the already repressed Nigerian public.

At least on one matter we have clarity – something else is at stake here. Something so strong that Mr President is ready to stake his place in history and perhaps his Presidency on it. As a commentator has said, it is entirely possible that the mess in the oil industry is so terrible that neither the Minister of Oil, nor the Minister of Finance nor indeed their boss, Mr Jonathan wants to deal with it.

Compounding this mystery is the fact that even marketers want the subsidy removed -which would be the same people who have been enjoying the easy money. It’s the Curious Case of Nigeria’s Fuel Subsidy?

Or is it something more sinister? Could it be, as NEXT Newspapers extensively reported months ago, that the oil minister is actively involved in the oil business covering a labyrinth of interests which stench reaches high up – to the highest office in the land?

Or perhaps it is something else – something which, very sadly, no one in government understands enough of to communicate to the average Nigerian.

Whatever it is, this is certainly not leadership. This is by no means governance. This is just sad.

 

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Comments (2)

  1. Nigeria is an unfortunate Nation made so by the very actions of her leaders according to the plans of her colonial Authority… Remember that removal of oil subsidy, deregulation, privatization and devaluation of Naira were the SAP initiative of IBB regime Via IBB must go riots.. Suprisingly OBJ post 1999 democratic rule stylishly brought it back with subtle efficiency. It took root, and by 2007 privatilisation has succeeded and more than half of oil subsidy removed, Naira swiftly devalued and the quest to remove the remaining % on oil subsidy will confirm a bumper harvest for our un patroitic leaders and V.I.Ps of waste in 2012. It is a Landslide victory for corruption. Every means will be employed by the Nigeria neo VIPs of waste to pacify the populace and the people wil be left berserk with the euphoria of passive events and by the time they wake up to the reality, they wil be victims of an imfamous neo political scam in modern history… Should Nigerians allow ROS to succeed they wil suffer…. Probably Nigerians needs that kind of suffering to effect Revolt or Balkanisation… Goodluck and his projectors has appear as the new stooges of neo colonial exploitation, herald of hardship, poverty and suffering as he has allowed himself to become the very agent of implementation of the Brentonwood Institution's neo-imperialist policies that has crippled the giant that was once Nigeria. Instead of focusing on the actualisation of States autonomy, true federalism, Viable Industries,effective security, and strenghtening of public Institutions needed for rapid transformation and development, Nigerian govt is seeking to Sap out whatever essence left to comfort the ordinary Nigerian. It is a treason for our leaders to attempt to overhaul the subsidy on oil as tied to other issues like Nepotism, corruption, misplacement of disciplinary priority ehnicity bribery etc. nigerians must refuse to accept ROS………..

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