The Deputy Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Philip Agbese, said fuel subsidy constitutes 50% of Nigeria’s problem and its termination will usher the country into her glorious era in history.
The lawmaker assured Nigerians that President Bola Tinubu’s removal of fuel subsidy was in their best interest.
Agbese who represents Ado/ Okpokwu/ Ogbadibo Federal Constituency of Benue State in an interview with journalists in Abuja, appealed to the organised labour to shelve the planned strike to protest against the policy.
He admitted that fuel subsidy has been a part of the nation since the 1970s, with the government routinely selling petrol to citizens at below cost to minimise the impact of rising global oil prices.
According to Agbese, available figures showed that the Buhari administration (2015 -2023) paid a subsidy of over N11.4 trillion, more than what the government spent on education, health, and infrastructure during the period under review.
While acknowledging that President Tinubu’s decision to end the regime has come with hardship, he reckons that Nigerians will celebrate in the long run.
“President Tinubu must be commended for taking the bold step to save the future of our nation. Fuel subsidy was no longer attainable.
“It is on record that about N40.1 billion is spent daily to subsidize every liter of petrol consumed in Nigeria by at least N600. It means the government spends about N1.24 trillion on fuel subsidies monthly.
“The country is in massive debt and would need more money to subsidize fuel. According to the World Bank, the government is projected to achieve fiscal savings of approximately two trillion naira ($2.6 billion) in 2023, equivalent to 0.9% of GDP. These savings are expected to reach over 11 trillion naira ($14.3bn) by the end of 2025.
“This will be invested in healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Indeed, the advantages of the removal of subsidy would not just come up immediately. It is not possible because the economy is not strong. We don’t have money to start implementing measures that will ameliorate the removal of the subsidy.
“Let me also use this opportunity to appeal to the Organised Labour not to succumb to agents of destabilization who want to pull us back. The issue of palliatives and better welfare for all citizens is paramount before the Asiwaju government,” he stated.