No credible data on Nigeria’s fuel consumption – CSJ
A Nigerian knowledge institution and advocate for fiscal transparency, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), has expressed concern over the recent decision by the Federal Government to remove subsidy of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) without engagement and consultation with stakeholders.
It also held that the amount of fuel supplied and what leaves the depot has remained unknown to Nigerian citizens.
The Lead Director, CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, stated that while the group has long advocated for the removal of PMS subsidy, the abruptness and lack of transparency surrounding the recent announcement raised several critical questions and potential consequences for the citizens of Nigeria.
CSJ while recalling President Bola Tinubu’s inaugural speech on May 29, in which he declared the end of petrol subsidy and the subsequent announcement by Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) of an upward review in the pump price of PMS across the nation with effective from May 31, recognized the need for sustainable economic policies and efforts at addressing issues relating to petrol subsidy.
The centre maintained that the current manner in which the removal of subsidy was carried out raises significant concerns that demand urgent attention.
“Lack of public consultation and agreements that should accompany the reform package, including palliatives for the poor, cutting down the cost of governance, the fate of the public refineries prior to the removal of the subsidy is troubling.
“It is very important that decisions of this magnitude, which directly affect the lives of citizens, are made through inclusive and participatory processes, ensuring that diverse perspectives are taken into account.
“Additionally, the lack of transparency and clarity in the computation of the new fuel prices circulated by NNPCL is disturbing.”
CSJ, therefore, urged the government to provide a comprehensive breakdown of the cost components and the basis for the calculation of the new fuel price.
“Furthermore, the sudden removal of petrol subsidy without a clear plan to mitigate the potential adverse effects on the already burdened citizens will exacerbate their suffering.
“The cost of living has already been a significant challenge for many Nigerians, and this decision has the potential to further escalate the financial burden on households across the country.
“CSJ also questioned the willingness of the political class to make corresponding sacrifices in terms of reducing the cost of governance, including their illegitimate and consistent earnings outside the approval of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
“CSJ calls on the government to provide clarity on how the funds saved from the subsidy removal will be reinvested for the benefit of the citizens. It is crucial that these resources are allocated to essential sectors such as healthcare, education, infrastructure development, and social welfare programs to alleviate the adverse impact of subsidy removal.”
Adding: “The arbitrary nature of this subsidy removal sends a dangerous signal of potential dictatorship and a lack of openness and transparency in the conduct of government affairs. CSJ strongly emphasizes the importance of democratic values, including transparency, accountability and public engagement in all policy decisions”, the Centre stated.