Sanusi backs fuel subsidy removal, says FG can’t continue as Father Christmas.
A former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, has commended the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) for removing subsidy on petroleum products.
He said certain reforms instituted by the Buhari regime which include the adjustment in electricity tariff were steps in the right direction.
Sanusi said with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on government revenue, Nigerians must realise that the government does not have the wherewithal to continue as “Father Christmas”.
The Federal Government had said there was no provision for fuel subsidy in the Revised 2020 Budget, noting that about N1.7trn has been spent on tariff shortfalls to support the electricity sector since its privatisation.
The increases in fuel price and electricity tariff sparked outrage of late. The Trade Union Congress and the Nigeria Labour Congress had threatened to commence a nationwide strike last Monday but called it off following a meeting with the government.
However, while the government put the new electricity tariff regime on hold for two weeks, it said petrol pump price remained at the increased rate of N161.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the President on Thursday morning, in his 60th Independence Day Anniversary Speech, defended the increase in petrol price saying, “it makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia”.
Speaking also on Thursday while featuring on The PLATFORM, a programme moderated by the Senior Pastor of Covenant Christian Centre, Poju Oyemade, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria said he wished the government had instituted the recent reforms ten years ago.
Sanusi said, “As a result of COVID-19 and because the economy has been brought to its knees, I think Nigeria has finally come around to being realistic. We were paying billions of dollars in so-called subsidy. It’s a big scam and it has been going on for 30 years.
“In the last few months, this government has started instituting certain reforms that if we continue along those lines, we will begin to see the light. Yes, the removal of fuel subsidy is one. The adjustment in electricity tariff is another.
“These are reforms that need to be pushed. We need to understand that the government does not have the balance sheet to continue with the Father Christmas situation that we have had over the last decade or so.
“I wished we had done this earlier but we are here now and we need to commend the government.”