Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Nigeria's opposition rejects government's plans to scrap petroleum subsidy

Nigeria's main opposition party Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has rejected the government's plans to scrap the petroleum subsidy, saying it would destabilise the country. ACN described the proposed subsidy removal as the handiwork of those propelled by the philosophy of the “Washington Consensus of rolling back the frontiers of the state.”

The party's secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed released a statement condemning the removal as a fiscal issue, and said the government did not take into account its responsibility to the nation and the improvement of living standards.

In a way of a compromise the ACN proposed the establishment of modular refineries with a total of 280,000 b/d refining capacity in nine cities including, Gusau, Enugu, Ibadan, Kano, Makurdi, Maiduguri, Lagos, Auchi and Gombe;in addition to reviving the existing ones.

The statement went on to say: "The basic objective of any fiscal policy is to improve the living conditions of the people through poverty reduction and the provision of welfare services. The removal of subsidy must therefore go beyond the cheap argument of improving the solvency of the government. To reduce the responsibility of government to its citizen to Naira and Kobo tokenism is tantamount to abdicating responsibility, and this has far reaching consequences not only on sustaining our democracy but the continued existence of the nation as a unified entity.''

ACN added that the only reason the issue has continued to recur was because Nigeria imports petroleum products for domestic consumption, warning that so long as importation continues, the problem would be ongoing.

Sources: Vanguard, All Africa, Afrique en Ligue

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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