I Will End Fuel Subsidy Regime In Transparent Manner – Peter Obi

Peter Obi, the Presidential Candidate under the Labour Party whose ambition is largely backed by huge online youth supporters said he would remove fuel subsidy in a transparent manner.

The former Anambra State governor said on Wednesday that he would remove subsidies on the condition that the people will get proportionate benefits.

He said this On Arise Tv programme ‘The Morning Show’, while speaking on his recent trip to Morocco which has drawn severe criticism from opposition parties. He also addressed issues on power, ports reforms and subsidy removal.

Nigeria is spending a huge chunk of its forex earnings to subsidize the importation of petroleum products, which has frustrated several administrations including the Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari’s governments.

Fuel subsidy has gulped $63 billion between 2005 and 2018, according to data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company.

“Subsidy alone would have solved lots of our issues in education and power. Subsidy of $40bn, you borrowed about $90bn which you are servicing, you can see a total mismanagement of resources that would have changed the vast farmland in the entire North,” said Obi.

“Like I said before, we will have to look at it critically. Yes and No. We have to study, I will remove it but I will have to offer them an equivalent of what we are removing,” he responded on whether he will end the subsidy.

“Yes, because I’m going to use the resources to do something they will benefit from. But if I am not going to do that, I will not remove it,” he added.

Obi also dismissed the notion that the labour unions are responsible for the delay in the removal of fuel subsidy.

If he becomes president by 2023, he said he would convince labour through dialogue and solving the basic issues hindering subsidy removal.

The Nigerian government had set February 2022 deadline for the removal of subsidy, but it was extended by 18 months

“If you say you are going to remove this (subsidy), the people must see the benefit. We are going to do it in such a way that will be transparent,” he added.

Obi said the Siemens Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) which is in three phases is failing ” because we are not serious in its political will. In Egypt to construct the power plant from beginning to end with Siemens lasted for 45 days.”

In July 2019, the Federal Government sealed a power deal with Siemens AG to increase Nigeria’s electricity generation to 25,000 megawatts (MW) in six years.

As of the time of signing the agreement, Nigeria’s electricity generation for its over 200 million population was a paltry 4,000 megawatts, while the country has a capacity of 12,000 MW.

“In Egypt they put power, security of life and property, education, health and power as a national security issue. Here we don’t have that, it is all stories. If you go to the power holding company in Egypt, on the wall of the CEO you will see all the generation, all the distributions and utilisation. The day I went there, the entire utilisation was 27,800 megawatts, total generation was 52,000mw. So, they have almost doubled that amount which they are not utilizing all.

“That was why I said I must learn why this is not happening whether we are cursed or we are the cause That was what I went to do.”

He said if Nigeria had spent $20bn in power, the country would have generated over 20,000mw.

Obi said, “If we have 20,000mw of power today, I can assure you that we would have been growing more than four per cent and would have added $100bn to our GDP.”

Recall that former German Chancellor, Angela Dorothea Merkel, had also blamed the Nigerian government for the slow pace of the project.

But Tolu Ogunlesi, the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital and New Media debunked Obi’s previous claim that Nigeria has been having meetings with Siemens without progress.

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