Palliatives: CAN urges FG to look beyond cash transfers

THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has urged the Federal Government to implement policies and also consider solutions beyond cash transfers to reduce the economic impact of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.

CAN in a statement on Friday, July 21, also proffered some possible solutions to mitigate the effects of the fuel price hike, appealing to Nigerians to “work together to build an economy that is inclusive, resilient, and offers opportunities for every Nigerian to thrive”.

“The fuel subsidy palliatives being considered by the government should go beyond cash transfers. Government should consider introducing mass transport across the states to reduce the cost of transportation. The multiplier effect of this will be profound.


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“Government should take measures to reduce the price of fuel. Such measures should include removal of unnecessary levies and taxes on imported petroleum products, the stabilisation of the foreign exchange market, and putting back our local refineries to functional and effective use,” CAN stated.

The religious body commended the administration of President Bola Tinubu for showing commitment towards building a united, peaceful, and progressive Nigeria.

Parts of the statement read: “Given the massive corruption that had characterised the fuel subsidy regime over the years, there was a general consensus that the removal of fuel subsidy had become inevitable if the Nigerian economy is to experience sustainable growth. However, it was also generally agreed that this must be done in such a way that Nigerians will not be subjected to untold hardship. In other words, what is idealistic must be balanced with what is realistic.

“Against the backdrop of the recent unprecedented hikes in fuel prices and alarming inflation, the national leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria wishes to express its deepest concerns over the prevailing hardships faced by Nigerians and calls for immediate steps to mitigate the situation.

“While Nigerians were trying to adjust to the initial increase in the fuel price to N540 and its consequential effect on the cost of transportation, food, goods and services, and the general cost of living, another hike alluded to market forces took the price to N617.”

According to CAN, the hike in fuel price  has placed an enormous burden on the already struggling masses, while further widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

It added that the purchasing power of ordinary citizens has been eroded, making it extremely difficult to afford the basic necessities of life.

“The situation is just unbearable for millions of Nigerians who were already suffering poverty. While CAN acknowledges the complex and difficult decisions that government must take to manage the nation’s economy, there is an urgent need to prioritise measures that will alleviate rather than exacerbate the existing poverty level and hardships of Nigerians. It is therefore imperative that economic policies are formulated and implemented with utmost care and consideration for the prevailing hardships experienced by Nigerians.”

CAN appealed to the government to consider some of the recommendations it presented in the statement.






     

     

     “Government should engage with critical stakeholders in a meaningful dialogue to explore sustainable solutions to the current situation. It is pertinent to develop comprehensive economic policies that promote inclusive growth, job creation, and social well-being.

    “Government should focus on diversifying the economy, reducing dependency on volatile commodities, and promoting investments in sectors with the potential to create sustainable employment opportunities. This will not only bolster economic resilience but also contribute to the overall well-being of citizens.

    “While we agree that there is no gain without pain, the pain must not be unbearable. Consequently, we again urge the government to take into account the impact of its policies on the most vulnerable segments of the society, and ensure they are not disproportionately burdened and subjected to unnecessary hardships.

    “Government must listen to the concerns of the Nigerian people and implement sound economic policies that prioritise the well-being of all citizens. By addressing the prevailing hardships caused by the recent fuel price hikes and high inflation, we can pave the way for a brighter future for Nigeria.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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