• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Fuel subsidy is a burden on poor Nigerians – Shettima

Vice President Kashim Shettima on Tuesday described Nigeria’s huge subsidy spendings as a burden placed on poor Nigerians, which President Bola Tinubu is committed to ending.

Shettima, speaking with State House Journalists on his first day in office at the Presidential Villa, on Tuesday, recalled how in 2022, the country spent $10billion subsidizing the ostentatious lifestyle of the upper class of the society.

According to him, “ You and I benefit 90% from the fuel subsidy, while the poor 40% of Nigerians benefit very little. And we know the consequences of unveiling a masquerade”.

He noted that the President had already made pronouncements on the issue of the fuel subsidy in his inauguration speech on Monday, adding that “ truth of the matter is that it is either we get rid of subsidy or the fuel subsidy gets rid of the Nigerian nation.

“We will get fierce opposition from those benefitting from the oil subsidy scam. But where there is a will, there is a way. Be rest assured that our President is a man of strong will and conviction. In the fullness of time you will appreciate his noble intentions for the nation. The issue of fuel subsidy will be frontally addressed. The earlier we do so, the better”.

Also speaking on the issue of multiple exchange rates, the Vice President said the Tinubu administration is going to collapse the multiple exchange into one.

“So these are two big elephants in the room and as the days go by we will be unveiling our agenda.

“He is going to unveil his agenda because as I have always said there can never be two captains in a ship. He is the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

“I’m the vice president. Your relevance is directly proportional to the level of your loyalty to the president. This is a gentleman that I have known for well over a decade; that I have interacted closely with. Be rest assured that we are going to work harmoniously as a team, as a family for the greater good of our nation.

Read also:Eurobonds, stocks, naira jump as Tinubu hits ground running

“To paraphrase the late John F. Kennedy, to some generations much is given; to other generations much is expected. I beliecve this generation has a rendezvous with destiny and my principal, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is poised to redefine the meaning and concept of modern governance.

“I want to assure Nigerians that he is going to provide the lead. He is going to provide the leadership and we will rally round him, give him our unequivocally support and loyalty to see to the realization of the Nigerian dream — a Nigeria where every black man in the world should be proud of.

“So, I want to assure our countrymen that President Bola Tinubu will by the grace of God catapult this nation to a higher pedestal. He is determined; he has the skills set; he has the temperament; the disposition and the purity of mind and commitment to give service to this nation.”

Also speaking on the subsidy issue, Chief Executive of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Mele Kyari, said the Federal government is owing the organization N2.8t for money expended on fuel subsidy.

Kyari stated this while speaking with the State House Journalists, after meeting with President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja

The President who resumed work formerly on Tuesday, had met behind closed doors with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN), Godwin Emefiele and the Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited ( NNPCL), in an apparent effort to address the fallout of fuel subsidy removal.

He revealed that the federal government “ no longer have the money to pay the agency money spent on subsidy” adding that government has not paid NNPCL for subsidy for about two years

Kyari also affirmed that the subsidy is no longer sustainable as it has made it impossible for the company to funds to fund its operation

Kyari said the petrol queues that have resurfaced are understandable as marketers will like to understand the meaning of the president’s pronouncement that “subsidy is gone.”

He said that the uncertainty on the remark also caused consumers to rush for the product and causing queues.

He urged Nigerians to avoid panic buying, as the NNPCL has enough stock“ What you are seeing is normal because consumers will like to rush to the filing stations to fill their tanks, while the marketers will want to take advantage of the situation. The combined the two is what you are seeing play out”

Kyari who was joined by Farouk Ahmed, Chief Executive of
Nigerian Mainstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA), revealed that with the removal of subsidy, there will no longer be price cap on the sale of petroleum products in the country

The NNPCL boss assured that government will initiate measures to cushion the effects of the removal of subsidy.

Ahmed assured that the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA); and the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), were working with Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (Commission) to ensure that consumers are not exploited

The outcome of these engagements between the top-level Executives of these relevant entities, as well as key operatives, is expected to help ensure that consumers are not exploited

The NMDPRA boss however, said there will no longer be a common selling price as marketers will henceforth sell at cost price

“ But will will ensure that existing supplies are not insufficient for regularly established consumption levels, even as we encourage consumers not to modify their regular purchase and consumption patterns.
The meeting was the first official assignment of the President in the Presidential Villa, following the return of fuel queues, as marketers, react to the fuel subsidy removal.

The President arrived the meeting at about 2:32pm and was received by Vice President Kashim Shettima, at the foya of the President’s office, accompanied by the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar.

Others include the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Wale Edun, Dele Akake, James Faleke

The President had at his inauguration speech on Monday, announced the removal of fuel subsidy and his resolve to reduce high interest rates, which he described as dis- incentives to attracting investments.

The announcements has led to the return of fuel queues across the country, despite assurances by the NNPCL of sufficient supply of the commodity.

BusinessDay gathered that in a bid to profit from the policy, sone filing stations

Officials of the State House, Presidential Villa,Abuja had earlier commenced the replacements of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s pictures with the official photographs of the new President.

This is as the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, arrived the office at exactly 1pm

Major landmarks and offices are now adorned with the official photographs of the new President signaling the commencement of the new administration

Similarly, the official photograph walls of the President has been cleared of the pictures of the old administration, awaiting the displays of the pictures from the activities of the new President.

A source close to the State House Media office informed BusinessDay on Tuesday that they are eagerly awaiting the new President

“ We have cleared the picture walls and as you can see, we have also placed the official photographs of the new President”.