The Nigerian Employer’s Consultative Association, NECA. A strong member of the Organised Private Sector, has queried the removal of the fuel Subsidy by the Federal Government in June.
The Director General of NECA, Adewale -Smart Oyerinde said it’s wrong. He made this public during an interactive session with newsmen. According to Adewale, removing Subsidy without adequate plans to mitigate its effect is the reason for this current fuel price hikes. The refineries should have been fixed first.
In his response to if the the purpose of the fuel Subsidy removal is met.
“The first thing you will have to do is get yourself out of the minus ground zero to zero level before you can start thinking about development or its gains”.
”What has happened now is that subsidy has been removed and when subsidy is removed, one of the things we should have done, with the benefit of hindsight, is to fix at least one of those refineries to create the buffer or a bridge for fuel prices.
”Because we did not do that, the issue of importation at the global market prices, came up and we have to pay at that price. The flip side is that before the last administration left around January and February, it was reported that we were using about 98 per cent of our revenue to service debt.
“It showed that there was no revenue in place. The past administration made provision for fuel subsidy up till June. If the past administration was actually borrowing to fund subsidy, the natural sequence for a business man is to ask himself if he is really saving because you cannot be saving money you don’t have.
”If I am borrowing to fund and I decide not to fund it again, what I have stopped doing is to stop funding it and to stop borrowing. So, you cannot technically say that I am saving because what I have stopped doing is borrowing to support subsidy.
”What we need to do now basically and we are not expecting a miracle, we are not expecting that fuel subsidy is removed and probably the small group that are benefiting from it to say the business is over because there will always be some level of fight back. However, it boils down to government doing the needful.”
“Government remains government, irrespective of how strong the cabal is and it should take responsibility for the consequences of the removal. We believe much more can be done, we believe a lot of stakeholders’ engagements can still be done and we also believe that more transparency can be put into all these issues of fuel subsidy”.