Former minister of communications, Adebayo Shittu, has spoken about the recent removal of fuel subsidy and the hardship that Nigerians currently face. According to him, the government should prioritize easing the burden of the people, especially the poor and unprivileged. He said that this should be done in two specific areas where the people spend more – education and healthcare. There should be an introduction of free education for all children in the country and free healthcare service for Nigerians.
He said that this would reduce illiteracy, build a greater future for Nigerians and create more employment for the people. He quoted late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as saying, “If you fail to educate the children of the poor, they will not allow your children to sleep with two eyes closed.” If the government can implement this strategy, he said that the cry over the removal of fuel subsidy will decrease considerably and people will have extra money to do other things. The current outcry, he said, is as a result of multiple expenditures which the new economic reality has created.
Current sacrifices are inevitable for development.
People now lament due to these economic realities caused by fuel subsidy removal even if they are told that the money saved will be useful for other developmental agenda. They complain because they still go through the excruciating experience of paying for all services at increased rates. However, he said that all these are inevitable for development. He said that there cannot be progress without sacrifice, and there can’t be development without making very bold and courageous choices.
Also, some Nigerians have been saying that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should be concerned about the hardship of the people. But he reminded them that the agenda to remove the subsidy was not that of the APC alone. The candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party had promised the same thing during their campaign. “Unless others are not sincere, if they had won the election, they would have done the same thing,” Shittu had said in an interview.
Problems with refineries rest on the former administration.
As well, he said that the decision was the best for the country and the government did not want to postpone the day for Nigerians. As an immediate effect, he said that the distributable funds in the Federation Account in the last few months to states have doubled. He said that the improvement of citizens’ welfare now rests with governors since the funds are shared among the three levels of the government. He said that it was unfortunate that governors have killed the local government system and this is one area that a lot of people are shying away from.
Furthermore, people are now holding this government up to the promise of the Buhari administration. Former president, Muhammadu Buhari, had promised to work on refineries and have them functioning so that the country does not rely on import of fuel. Unfortunately, none of the refineries have started working until Tinubu’s inauguration. The immediate past government had promised to revive the four refineries. He said that if that had succeeded, the problem we currently have with the oil economy would have been eliminated.
New government will ensure things are on track, he said.
Now that we have a new government that is doing things differently and has promised to bring about change, he said that Nigerians will start feeling the change. He said that he is sure that the new government will do a lot to ensure that every entrepreneur in the oil industry is encouraged to build private refineries so that we will be able to produce. The cost of oil has gone up majorly because when Nigeria produces crude oil, it cannot be refined locally.