Fuel Subsidy: Damnable Effects on Nigerians

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By Phebe Temitayo Babatunde

You could recall that fuel subsidies was removed in May,2023. It was actually a sudden act regarding the diplomatic display of the previous government. Fuel subsidies has existed from the 1970’s even when the government at that time sold petrol to the masses at a very low price.

The 1977 Price Control Act regulated the price of fuel and other products. Fuel subsidy actually denote the process of ending government financial assistance for fuel, causing prices to rise to market levels. This leads to high purchase of fuel, and economic and social impacts.

Following the decision of the removal of fuel subsidy, the public has reacted in diverse ways as they understand the detriment of such decisions by the current President elect. Many citizens expressed their opinion over the issues. While some showed and pledged their supports to the President, others have disclosed their heavy concern over the high cost of living that will emerge after the decision of the fuel subsidy removal.

Based on research carried out, one Dumebi Oluwole, an Economic Analyst at Stears explains what subsidy removal is and the fact that it is a temporary measures.

Also Jennifer Awirigwe, a Personal Finance expert, investment banker and the Founder of Fintribr gives an anecdote that describes the fuel subsidy: “This litre of fuel is originally #100, but you pay #50 because the government has deposited on your behalf. That’s fuel subsidy. Instead of paying the actual price for fuel, we have been paying part while the government handled the balance”. According to Jennifer, fuel subsidy is to enable affordable fuel purchase of fuel for Nigerians which is a favourable thing, but when the government no longer has the ability to carry on the act, the masses would be left with no choice than to pay the full price. Jennifer also highlighted some of the possible effects of the fuel subsidy removal. One of the disadvantages of the subsidy removal according to her is that, the prices of goods will be affected as fuel is the bedrock of how many products gets to diverse places in Nigeria for consumption, especially foods.

During an interview with Associate Professor in Sociology, the Dean of Pre-degree and Diploma Studies, Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba, Professor Kennie Enojo gave his perception about the matter. For him, the decision was shocking and he saw it to be a form of punishment from the President towards the masses. He also perceived that the decision was done on the basis of lack of ideology, politics without ideas and democracy without government. He further shared his experience after the decision was implemented as very tough. He explained how he no longer uses gas to cook his daily meal and how life has become hard even harder for him. According to him, he has not being able to maintain the purchase of fuel anymore since that policy came on board. The Prof who has a car, lamented about the whole situation and his inability to fuel the car for his daily work around.

Prof Enojo explained that the policy has affected every aspects of human living because fuel is attached to everything that may provide comfort to citizens in the country, the price of fuel has astronomically gone high. Prof. Enojo, also stated that the government actually have intentions of mitigating the social hardship in the country which includes: the distribution of palliative to some Federal Workers and the increase in minimum wage which he sees to be inorganic.

For Prof, he analysed the failure of the government by not planning before making such brutal policy. He opened up and said, the government should have at least flooded the market with food stuffs, then they should have made other available alternative means of transportation that will reduce the price of transporting goods and services between the (36) thirty-six states of the country. During the interview with him, he said the problem now is because, the road transportation is the only means of transportation especially for the average Nigerians and the lower class.

The ideological leaders are not vibrant according to him. Making more electricity supplies and other infrastructural amenities wouldn’t have been a bad idea before the implementation of the policy of the removal of fuel subsidy.

However, he gave some recommendations to handle the current issue which could help the country and her economy. Some of these recommendations includes:

  1. The need for citizens to plan and be resourceful.
  2. The government should have probably made use of the SWOT analysis to enable them help the masses and mitigate or reduce the high cost of living in the country.
  3. Since the government has underestimated the challenges of Nigeria which also balls down to lack of planning, he recommends that now, there should be a plan to generate electricity so as to help in getting water and powering home appliances especially refrigerators for the purpose of preservation of foods.
  4. The government should deliberately import foods into the country, instead of distribution of palliative.
  5. He also recommends that the government needs stronger institutions to maintain laws and orders, and provide security for the masses in the country.

As he concluded, he said that the issue the removal of fuel subsidy has not been easy and if the government would be responsible enough to listen and look into the situation so as to make the country a better place for people to live.

In an interview with one Professor Yomi Alfred, from the department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Faculty of Agriculture of Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba, he gave his perspectives about the government’s decision and lamented about the high cost of purchasing fuel. He also examined how his daily activities are being affected by the subsidy removal policy.

Prof Alfred, however made a recommendation that could curb the present hardship in the country. He said, if the governing administration can make the refineries in the country functional, it would really go a long way to help. For him, when the price of fuel drastically goes down, the prices of food commodities and even services will reduce. This he said as his recommendation the government should put in place.

The removal of fuel subsidy was too sudden and effects of the action has sprung up increasingly, and has affected the citizens of the nation. In Anyigba, where the prices of food and service usually a bit different from other states, it has become even worse and made life harder for its habitants.

Fuel subsidy is actually a bad idea for the country’s economy and if the government would have the feelings of the people to look into the situation and procure necessary solutions to curb the hardship, making the cost of living favourable to citizens, the better

– Phebe Temitayo Babatunde is a 300L student of the department of Mass Communication, Prince Abubakar Audu University Anyigba

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