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Fuel subsidy is a scam. This is the position of the Presidential Aspirant of the Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi who has promised to offer a better alternative if elected. He describes the present structure of fuel subsidy as a scheme that funds incompetence.
Obi made the pledge when he appeared on Arise Television on Wednesday, noting that the petrol subsidy was part of the ways government spends recklessly, promising that if elected, his administration will not expend $40 billion of tax payer’s money on subsidy as presently done by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime.
Statistics show that the country spent N1.27 trillion on petrol subsidy payments in the past five months, amounting to about 31 percent of the N4 trillion budget for the year. It threatened oil gains as Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited failed to remit revenue to the federation account.
Obi said, “We have spent over $40 billion on subsidy. Our total education expenditure in the past 10 years is about N8 trillion (about $20 billion on $400/$1). This is 50 percent of it.”
“If we spent $20 billion on power, we would have been generating and distributing 20,000 megawatts of electricity today.
“It means subsidy alone would have solved a lot of issues in our education, health, and power. If we have 20,000mw, we will be growing at more than 4 percent and add over $100 billion to our GDP.
“Within the same period, we have borrowed $90 billion, which we are servicing. With this, you could see total mismanagement of resources that could have changed the entire North… that vast land would have been huge farmland,” he said
Commenting on whether or not he would remove subsidy, Obi said: “We have to study and look at it critically. Yes and No, because I would remove it, but I have to offer them what would be equivalent to what we are removing.
“Yes, I am going to use the resources to do something that would benefit, but if I am not going to do that I am not going to remove it. You must be able to offer something in replacement for what you are going to do.
“I cannot spend $40 billion on subsidy and expend 50 percent of it on education and health even security. Are you saying [petrol] subsidy is more important than the security of lives and property?
“I have been saying subsidy is a scam, and I will continue to say it. There are so many scams all over the place, including the cost of governance.”