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APC appeals to Nigerians to embrace fuel subsidy removal


APC National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun

APC National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun

National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has defended the increase in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), appealing to Nigerians not to protest against the policy as it was in their best interest.

Addressing reporters yesterday at the National Secretariat of the party, Odigie-Oyegun acknowledged that Nigerians were supposed to enjoy supply of fuel, which the country is blessed with, at a subsidised rate.

He, however, insisted that the Federal Government could no longer afford to sustain the subsidy regime due to massive corruption and abuses in the petroleum sector of the economy.

Lamenting the sight of endless queues by motorists at various petroleum stations in the country, he expressed optimism that with the partial deregulation the petroleum sector, the forces of demand and supply would ensure availability of fuel within the next three months.

Explaining that the government had to increase the pump price of fuel because monies meant to subsidise fuel was not provided for in the 2016 budget, he maintained that the decision would make monies available for developmental projects, which would be of immense benefit to the citizenry.

Odigie-Oyegun assured that the partial deregulation of the petroleum sector would surely attract investors to the downstream sector of the petroleum industry and open up the economy.

He said: “I want to appeal to the Nigerian public, to our unions and other civil society groups for understanding of the situation that has led to the partial deregulation of the petroleum sector. Yes, Nigerians have a right to subsidy on that one natural resource that the good Lord has endowed us with. But there is no question at all that over time the subsidy regime has become so intensely manipulated, so abused that it really was no longer operating in the interest of the Nigerian public.

“I think that it has become very clear that the kind of queues that has become endemic over several regimes in this nation is a clear indication that something has gone seriously wrong with the subsidy regime. Those who were privileged were exploiting it to amass more wealth. Meanwhile, the people for who it was basically meant had to bear the cost in higher transport fare. Each time these queues develop, of course the ordinary Nigerian bears the cost while the importers and manipulators of the system are the ones that make all the money.

“From our point of view as a party, in order to recover from the economic situation which we have been plunged, it has become necessary to totally free the economy and let the normal laws of demand and supply operate; of course, with government standing bye to protect the long-suffering Nigerian who is at the margin. If is unfortunate; it is painful what has happened; it will increase cost in all directions. But in the medium term, in three months at best, I foresee that the prices will come crashing down when there is availability.”

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