As many state governments and some stakeholders kicked against the policy, yesterday, Vice President Kashim Shettima stressed the need to end fuel subsidies saying failure to do so would end the country.
Speaking to journalists on his first day in office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Shettima said Nigeria needs to get rid of fuel subsidy, arguing that the subsidy regime was not benefiting Nigerians but has been subsidizing the lifestyle of the rich.
He, however, assured that despite expected opposition from beneficiaries of fuel subsidy President Tinubu would frontally address the menace.
His words: “The President has already made pronouncements yesterday (Monday) on the issue of the fuel subsidy. The truth is that it is either we get rid of subsidy or the fuel subsidy gets rid of the Nigerian nation.
“In 2022, we spent $10billion subsidizing the ostentatious lifestyle of the upper class of the society. “We will get fierce opposition from those benefiting 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.”
However, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, in a statement by its President and Secretary General, Festus Osifo and Nuhu Toro, respectively, warned that it is a joke taken too far.
The body while assessing the President’s inaugural speech, said “”While listening to Tinubus’s Inaugural Address, we were at first encouraged by his pledge to lead as a servant of the people (and not as a ruler) and to always consult and dialogue, especially on key and knotty national issues. But we were subsequently taken aback, even horrified, when he announced the withdrawal of subsidy on petroleum products.
“If by this, he means increases in pump price and the exploitation of the people by unregulated and exploitative deregulated prices, then it’s a joke taken too far. It is not for nothing the Buhari government pushed this to the new administration. But we expect the Tinubu government to be wise on such a sensitive issue and be more explicit in its pronouncement to avoid contradictory interpretation when comparing his written statement, what he said and the provision in 2023 Appropriation Act.
“We dare say that this is a very delicate issue that touches on the lives, if not very survival, of particularly the working people. Hence, it ought to have been treated with utmost caution, and should have been preceded by robust dialogue and consultation with the representatives of the working people, including professionals, market people, students and the poor masses.
“Accordingly, we hereby demand that President Tinubu should tarry awhile to give room for robust dialogue and consultation and stakeholders’ engagement.”
“This new administration cannot be seen to be speaking from both sides of its mouth, we urge President Tinubu to be a President with a human face,” it added.