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Don’t exceed June implementation date for fuel subsidy removal, OPSN reminds govt

By Gloria Nwafor
16 January 2023   |   4:04 am
As contained in the Appropriation Act 2023, Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) has advised the Federal Government that the fuel subsidy regime should not exceed June this year as recommended in the law.

fuel pump PHOTO: shutterstock

•To engage political parties on better economy
As contained in the Appropriation Act 2023, Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) has advised the Federal Government that the fuel subsidy regime should not exceed June this year as recommended in the law.

It also urged government to complete the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the four refineries before the aforementioned date and institute a judicial panel of enquiry involving employers and workers’ representatives to ascertain those culpable in the fuel subsidy scam.

A statement by OPSN also urged government to make necessary adjustments to the Finance Bill 2022, by removing sections that contradict the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) for rapid development of the sector.

The move, OPSN said, should be jointly developed with stakeholders’ realistic and applicable cushioning mechanism for citizens beyond providing palliatives, which the group said, were in the past, superficial.

Noting that its stance has been gradual removal with clear roadmap and palliatives for the citizens, OPSN said the country has spent over N20 trillion on fuel subsidy.

It observed: “In 2022 alone, over N5 trillion was expended and over N3 trillion budgeted for same in the 2023 budget. It thus becomes worrisome that the same product that is being subsidised and supposed to be sold at pump price of about N165 per litre is being sold for over N300 and in some instances, N650 per litre, across the nation.

“It is no gainsaying that the subsidy regime as currently operated is shrouded in secrecy and fraught with corruption. The humongous amount spent in the guise of subsidy regime is literally being used to subsidise inefficiency, corruption and consumption. In other climes, these funds would have been judiciously used for more productive activities that will directly impact the lives of citizens, most especially provision of infrastructural facilities.”

THIS is even as OPSN has concluded to engage political parties and present to them a field-based policy document of businesses that promotes contributions of the private sector to the Nigerian economy.

The template outlines priorities for politicians to adopt in the coming election season.

The group clarified that the document, which would be presented at a roundtable in Lagos, provides sustainable recommendations on resolving developmental challenges for the next administration to run along.

It said the policy also presents dark issues that discourage business growth and participation of private sector in the growth of the economy.

According to OSPN, in the past two decades, asymmetry in governance has clouded the Nigerian economy with a litany of problems.

It stressed that economic activities, industrial and non-industrial operations have been depressed, accounting for the lingering poor performances of macro and socio-economic indicators in the country vis-a-vis Gross Domestic Product (GDP), high exchange rate, interest and inflation rates, industrial and manufacturing production per capita GDP, youth unemployment and poverty, among others.

Noting that the private sector creates nine out of every 10 jobs globally, “It is, therefore, a critical force in national economic development and as such, should be allowed to partner with government in the design, formulation, implementation, and monitoring of economic policies in the country for greater wealth creation and economic growth of any nation.

“The OPSN believes that the expected governance dispensation, come 2023 is a new and veritable opportunity to address and redress the challenges through reshaped economic policies and implementation so as to swiftly rekindle and improve productivity in the economy.”

The OPSN engagement is in collaboration with Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN), Institute of Directors Centre for Corporate Governance (IoDCCG) and in partnership with the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)/ National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a USA based democracy and enterprise promotion organisation.