THE presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu has vowed to stop subsidising the cost of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as fuel, if elected President in 2023.
Speaking at a business luncheon in Lagos on Thursday, December 22, Tinubu said no amount of protest by Nigerians can stop him from removing fuel subsidy.
According to him, neighbouring countries and few Nigerians are the ones benefiting from the subsidy.
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He said, “Nigeria will not continue to subsidise fuel consumption in neighbouring countries.
“How can we be subsidising fuel consumption of Cameroon, Niger, Benin Republic? No matter how long you protest, we are going to remove subsidy.”
The APC presidential candidate was restating the claim by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) which in 2021 said Nigeria’s subsidised fuel is being smuggled out of the country “in large quantities”.
The Controller-General of NCS, Col. Hameed Ali blamed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for establishing filling stations along the land borders against Custom’s advice.
Ali said the filling stations were responsible for the increasing volume of fuel being released by the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as daily consumption.
“The issue of smuggling of fuel from Nigeria to the neighbouring countries is simply because of price differential. The prices outside our shores and borders are higher, and that is what attracts people to move this product outside. And this product is not only limited to Benin, Niger or Chad, it goes up to Mali,” he said.
Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari in October affirmed that fuel subsidy will end in 2023 despite the “destablising effects” it will have on the economy”
“As we seek to grow our government revenues, we must also focus on the efficiency of utilisation of our limited resources. Critical steps we are taking include immediate implementation of additional measures towards reducing the cost of governance and the discontinuation of fuel subsidy in 2023 as announced earlier.
“Petrol subsidy has been a recurring and controversial public policy issue in our country since the early eighties. However, its current fiscal impact has clearly shown that the policy is unsustainable”, he said.
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that Buhari, Tinubu and other chieftains of the APC had taken to streets in 2012 to protest against the proposed removal of fuel subsidy by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Following the protest that lasted some days, Jonathan was forced to reverse the decision.
Sinafi Omanga is a journalist with The ICIR. His Twitter handle is @OmangaSinafi and Email: email@example.com