Barely a year after a the forceful removal of fuel subsidy which almost brought the country to a standstill, President Goodluck Jonathan has launched a campaign to totally remove the subsidy on fuel saying it was the solution to incessant fuel scarcity in the country. He said the removal of fuel subsidy would attract investors to the oil sector who would build refineries in the country thereby putting an end to the importation of petroleum products as it is currently being done.
According to a Punch report, he noted that although the effect of the removal might be painful initially, Nigerians would be happier in the end.
“Why is it that people are not building refineries in Nigeria despite that it is a big business? It is because of the policy of subsidy, and that is why we want to get out of it. To change a nation is like surgery. If you have a young daughter of five years who has a boil at a very strategic part of the face, you either as a parent leave that boil because the young girl will cry or you take the girl to the surgeon.
“So you have the option of just robbing metholatum on the face until the boil will burst and disfigure her face or you take that child to the surgeon. On the sighting of a scalpel of the surgeon alone, the child will start crying. But if she bears the pains and do the incision and treat it, after some days or weeks, the child will grow up to be a beautiful lady.
“There are certain decisions that government must take that may be painful at the beginning and people must be properly informed so that they will be ready to bear the pains.”
On January 1st 2012 when the President removed the subsidy on fuel, his action was greeted by mass protests across the country which paralysed economic activities in the country for about two weeks. The pump price of the product pre-January 1, 2012 was N65. It was increased to N141 under the zero-subsidy regime and consequently reduced to N97 after the protests.
The memories of the two weeks protest are still fresh and unpleasant and it would be a shame if we had to pass through a similar period again in Nigeria. Nigerians were faced with hardship as the increase in the price of fuel consequently affected prices of foodstuff and other commodities.
What are your thoughts on the President’s reasons for wanting to remove the fuel subsidy? Are you in support of the removal of the fuel subsidy or not?