Fuel Subsidy Removal Suspension A Welcome Development – NACCIMA
By Kelechi Eke, Lagos
Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has described Federal Government’s decision to suspend fuel subsidy removal as ‘a welcome development.’
Amb Ayo Olukanni, the Director-General of NACCIMA, who made the position of the body known, says: “We acknowledge government’s dilemma, and difficulties for an enduring solution to the issue of removal of petroleum subsidy, especially the prices of PMS. “This decision to move the date and suspend subsidy removal beyond June is therefore not surprising.
“While it appears as kicking the can down the road again; it is a welcome development.”
Explaining why the body holds the view, Olukanni said:
We acknowledge government’s dilemma, and difficulties for an enduring solution to the issue of removal of petroleum subsidy, especially the prices of PMS. This decision to move the date and suspend subsidy removal beyond June is therefore not surprising. While it appears as kicking the can down the road again, it is a welcome development. On one hand is the issue of problem of relieving itself of the onerous burden of a burgeoning petrol subsidy. On the other hand is how to come up with commensurate benefits to cushion the effect of removal of subsidy on the people or economy at large.
It is absolutely necessary to consider a practical and acceptable implementation plan in the quest to gradually weaning the public off petrol subsidy and cushion the impact with appropriate palliatives.This can only be done in consultation with organized labour and other stakeholders including the private sector… Such an implementation plan must take into account appropriate timing aligned with the MTEF of government, as well as other concerns related to security. It is equally important that all efforts must be made not to overheat the polity either by commission or omission, especially as we head to an election year. We need a peaceful Nigeria for businesses to thrive and attract foreign investment. The decision to temporise on subsidy removal, such as contemplated by government, deserves support. We hope this step will give the required time for extensive and wide consultation. “Government is therefore encouraged to widen consultations on the issue and work out an implementation plan which will fully reflect input from the widest range of stakeholders and acceptable to all,” says Amb Ayo Olukanni, the DG NACCIMA