SUBSIDY REMOVAL AND OTHER MATTERS ARISING
By; Augustine Omilo
Since President Bola Ahmed Tinubu took over as the president of Nigeria on the 29th of May, 2023, the country has been witnessing occurrences and government policy thrust pronouncements that have left the citizens pondering whether there can still be hope for generations yet unborn in the country. The first salvo was shot with BAT’s short of phrase of; “subsidy is gone” on the day of his inauguration as a democratically elected leader and the 16th president of Nigeria from 1963 when she became a republic till date.
With the pump price of the premium motor spirit, PMS (fuel) rising in a manner that suggests competition with the dollar exchange rate in the country, the people, including governments have been left with no choice than seeking alternatives to the use of the product. For example, those using electric power generating sets are fast transiting to the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power the machines as against the use of petrol or diesel.
The actions of the people appear to fall in line with the G20 countries that are fashioning out ways to reduce the use of petrol on transport motor vehicle to about 50% all over the world by the year 2035. This, according to them is in accordance with the proposals for clean energy applications with a view to reducing climate change challenges around the world.
Though, many African countries, including Nigeria seem unprepared for this global innovation, current happenings in the country are likely to inculcate the program into the economic arrangements of the nation. The federal government must begin to brace up for this imminent introduction as the nation cannot abandon the use of petrol like the importing nations and still expect to earn foreign income from it. Foreign investors in the oil sector are definitely not likely to venture into businesses along this direction, knowing full well that the end to the world’s scramble for the possession of oil wells in Nigeria is at hand.
And even companies that have so far invested in the petroleum subsector must equally begin to explore options to keep them in business beyond the final crash of the demand for fuel. Banks in the country are not left out. They should thread on the path of careful subjection of financial assistance requests from oil industry investors to thorough scrutiny in order to avoid incurring bad debts from failed beneficiaries.
Going forward, the president and his economic team will be doing well by carefully introducing economic policies that will promote the success of the informal sector of the system. In other words, service providers in the area of software development, accounting, advertising, insurance, human capital development, private technical services and other business aspects of the society that are not captured in the civil service populace must be given their pride of place in the economic development efforts in the country.
It will amount to an understatement to state that the wealth of the nation is not evenly distributed. Granted that it is not feasible for everybody in the country to earn equal financial reward from the system, the disparity in the salary structure among the private sector actor sub groips on one hand and all of them against the public sector on the other must be holistically checked. For the sake of illustrations, anybody that chooses to work and retire from a private nursery school should be captured in the old age social investments and pension arrangement of Nigeria.
Like what happened during the leadership of Obasanjo as the head of state between 1976 and 1979, the federal government should among other options work out incentives to attract citizens in Diaspora home to help develop the country. In addition, deserving Nigerians in selected technical areas of specialization should be given scholarships abroad to acquire skills to boost the growth of the nation’s economy.
To put all strategies into a state of near-perfection, the education curriculum of the country must be restructured to offer a good measure of functionality. Emphases on skill acquisition should precedence over paper qualifications that are hardly justifiably defended by carriers who often depend on “who-know-man” to compete in job interviews.
Despite the three arms of government being independent of themselves, they owe the nation a patriotic duty to collaborate and offer good governance. Round pegs must be fixed into round holes in terms of appointments into political offices. “Take-a-bow and go” for most ministerial and commissioner-nominees presented to the legislative part of government require reversal that ensures proper scrutiny.