​Tinubu makes U-turn, wants fuel subsidy removed

Bola Tinubu

A former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, has urged the Federal Government to immediately remove fuel subsidy.

Mr. Tinubu, a senior member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, said Nigeria should rather commit available resources to social programmes and infrastructure that would impact on the people.

Mr. Tinubu made the suggestion on Friday while speaking in Kaduna at the 10th memorial anniversary of Bala Usman, a left-wing politician, scholar and historian.

In 2012, Mr. Tinubu was one of the well-known critics of then Jonathan administration’s attempt to remove fuel subsidy.

The former governor said subsidy on petrol was once a good idea but that “it has been perverted into its opposite”.

He said the aid was no longer helping the people, but had long become a device used by crooked business interests to steal public resources.

“In a perfect world, I wish we could sanitize the subsidy regime and thus continue (with) it,” he said. “However, I have reached the conclusion that there are too many demons in the system for this hell to be converted into good earth let alone heaven.”

He said it would be better to spend the money from subsidy on people-based programmes.

“I would choose to remove the subside and use the money to help people – let us feed our school children, with our local produce promote agriculture, create jobs and start erecting a social safety net for the vulnerable among us in true need,” he said.

“I am one of those enjoying or benefitting from the cheap pump price per litre, but I don’t need it. I rather pay for the availability and let the needy benefit more from higher pump prices.

“Let us begin a process of a thoughtful but decisive subsidy phase-out. While this is occurring, we should simultaneously phase in social programs benefiting the poorest, most vulnerable among us.

“Programs such as transportation subsidies, school feeding, improved basic medical care and coverage for the poor, and potable water projects are some of the things that can be done with the funds.

“This way, we can undertake expenditures confident that the fruits will go to the hungry, not the already well fed. End the fuel subsidy. Subsidize the people instead – Subsidize the people indeed!

“Bala Usman would have wanted us to do this and do it now. Bold endeavour. We must do what we must to build railways and roads and bring light to those who have languished without it in darkness.

“Put tax incentives in place to spur new refineries. End the queues at the fuel pump. The tax we would forfeit is but reshaped to become an investment in a better Nigeria.”

Speaking on “the paths to Nigeria’s economic liberation”, Mr. Tinubu said it was critical to give attention to employment for the youth.

“The nation’s economic engineers should focus primarily on allocating value and opportunity to our under-utilised labour force and our idle, yet potentially productive capital in ways promoting wealth creation and expansion of aggregate demand.

“And we should do this without bending to the wishes of the IMF, WTO and the league of global money masters who would keep us low.

“It is sustained aggregate demand that empowers the nation to rescue itself from the whirlpool of economic contraction,” he said.

Speaking further, he made case for the imperative of industrialisation, state-driven development and freeing Nigerian economy from external control.

“In their formative stages, the English, American and Chinese economies were highly protectionist. America was known as the most protectionist of the western nations during the century when it emerged from a second-rate economy to become the largest in history.

“The Chinese economy – the world’s second largest – remains a den of protection. If this is the way of the most successful nations, we should do as they did but not do as they say we should do,” he said.

Essentially, he stressed that Nigeria must protect local businesses essential to the country’s development objective.

“The industries and manufacturing activities essential to our national maturation and development, we must protect. This may not be textbook economics. But we do not reside in textbooks and neither do our challenges. This is the way of the real world. We would be wise to adhere to it.”

“Thus, we must identify those industries strategic to the nation we seek to build and provide incentives such as tax relief and help in the form of effective tariffs to insulate them, allowing them to grow in productivity and competitiveness in a conducive atmosphere.”

“The important thing is that we grow our industrial base so that we lessen our import dependence and provide jobs for a growing urban population.”


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  • Spoken word

    Who cares what tinubu says.he is not in government anyway so he cannot implement any policy.



    Premium Times now mockingly and spitefully addresses Bola Tinubu only as a “Senior Member” of the All Progressive Congress (APC)!

    Serves him right!

    • Onike24

      Nigeria has more than her own fair share of village idiots …..

  • Godwin

    Spoken Word, forget about hatred you developed toward Tinubu but instead listen and address the issue he raised. What is happening now in Nigeria has gone beyond people passing sentiment comments. Tinubu is one of the key figure and personality in this current figure indirectly, and as such the current government of PMB will considered his personal opinion.

  • ezedi

    It’s funny how hindsight is 20/20. the subsidy should have been removed over 4yrs ago and now with the economy in the toilet it’s going to get worse before it gets better!

  • persona

    The lazy call for FDI is textbook economics and protectionism as I have always advocated is the way to go. Nigeria lack capacity for immediate industrial revolution BUT we are entrepreneurial in nature. Our population is a major advantage, our land mass and diverse agricultural produce and natural resources are a blessing.
    The economy should be kick-started by US, for US and the FDI can be complimentary.
    The non oil sector has become the largest revenue generator for the country. The entertainment industry is a classic example. We have danced to our music, watched our domestic movies and attended our shows. Our producers, musicians, comedians etc have driven the non oil sector. All over Lekki, Mowe etc have seen private estate developments. We need to look inwards and develop our potential. Nigeria can be great yet again like our Cocoa, groundnuts, oil palm, put us on the map at inception before we got carried away.

  • growthengine

    We have people in the political class who don’t deserve leadership position. They have no grace and lack wisdom. The damage is already done from all the lies they told. Subsidy must remain. That is the only thing we get from govt. this govt is about to tax the nation like they did Lagos state. So I need to hold on to my subsidy


    Shameless and corrupt,he opposed it before because it was politically expedient and his party helped instigate riots all over the north and SW but now he has swallowed his vomit in public and without apologies to those who died in those riots.

    • Bigtin

      So painful!

    • abuasmau

      Oil is falling. No reason for Nigerians to buy it at N87 when crude sells for $37 today. It is projected to fall to around $20.

    • Chuks

      Why are you guys so pained that a mediocre incompetent and timid president lost election? Jonathan’s government could not manage SURE-P transparently, how can he manage subsidy removal? I’m so happy Nigeria made a wise decision to sack that corrupt God forsaken government. Any other government can remove subsidy surely not Jonayhan’s.

      • Swagger

        I agree. Jonathan was unspeakably incompetent and corrupt. I supported his exit, and will do same again. However, I’m afraid his replacement will not be significantly different, especially with recent events. The Buhari I see is dull. And while he might manage to confront corruption, he’s not pristine as we’d like.

        He refused to declare his assets fully and transparently, and harbours some of the grimiest of guys you’d think of. And, despite their claim to the contrary, he received needless gifts from the Jonathan govt., as he did with Obasanjo and Abacha. What about the shameful doctorate honorary in Kaduna last week?

        In case you are in doubt what I would have preferred as replacement, please follow Tanzania’s brand new president as he unfolds…

        • Onike24

          Mark my words, Buhari will be celebrated by our grandchildren as the one that changed Nigeria. Mark my words….. you cannot compare Tanzania to Nigeria, very different countries. Mwalimu laid the foundation and Tanzania had a fantastic foundation. Our leaders have been opportunist, the ones that were selfless were not allowed to rule! This is the first time we have elected the best of all the available options. I have a lot of faith in his ability to lead us to the promise land, he may himself not get there with us, but we have started a Journey.

      • SBA

        Thanks Chuks for your very thoughtful comments. The reason I have been against the removal is because the money wont be judiciously used. The only thing the masses benefit from the government is fuel subsidy whether we believe it or not. Their is nothing else majority of Nigerians benefit. The negative side is that we are subsidizing consumption. We should be subsidizing production. However I have a bit of confidence that this government will make good use of the money if it is removed. The only time we enjoyed the money gained from fuel price increase funny enough is under Abacha. He set up the PTF and Buhari ran it. We saw development, roads, hospitals, schools etc. across the country though it was more schemed to a part of the country

        • Onike24

          If the only thing we benefit is the subsidy then we truly have no benefit from government. The subsidy does not exist, why subsidize Dangote and Adenuga? Does that make sense? This government is the best opportunity we have have in nearly twenty years, Buhari may not even turn out to be the Mesiah but at the very least he is the forerunner, a John the Baptist. The subsidy has to go now.

  • abuasmau

    With the falling oil price this is the best time to do away with the monster called subsidy. Government could creat a fund for any surpluses to be used for the benefit of Nigerians.

  • Invitro222

    Bola Tinubu and Robert Mugabe

    Robert Mugabe and Bola Tinubu shouldn’t appear in the same sentence.
    For one, Robert Mugabe went to schools he could prove and he graduated.
    But as Robert Mugabe nears 90 he loses his marbles and his whereabouts.
    Bola Ahmed Tinubu is near 70 years but seems to have lost his own marbles.
    Tinubu wants “transportation subsidy” he said, but does not want “fuel subsidy”.
    I have not heard a worse contradiction in public speech since Bakin Zuwo of Kano.
    The only thing Robert Mugabe shares with Bola Tinubu is loss of spatial awareness.
    Robert Mugabe at almost 90 is perhaps more understandable than Bola Tinubu at 70.
    Both Robert Mugabe and Bola Tinubu rely on speech writers and only just read out trash.

  • Say the truth

    From the days of AD Tinubu canvassed for true federalism. When the fuel price was reduced to 87 naira Tinubu called it tokenism. He wanted more when the price was more that it is now. When national conference was put in place he turned around to oppose all he stood for before. Unstable as water as inconsistent as ever who will ever take such a person seriously? Subsidy was an opportunity for cheap money by the oil cabals which includes Tinubu brothers. Now that there seems to be a turn in tide against subsidy the chameleon is playing to the gallery.

  • kk

    i will not be surprised if this story runs only half span and disappears in a few minutes. Frank views on Bola Tinubu are usually not published by Nigerian journalists, as a rule. Not only because Nigerian journalists are so much in hock
    to Bola Tinubu for stolen financial gains as that Nigerian journalists have totally lost the sense of ‘nation’,
    and they’ll just voluntarily fall before their inferiors. Little wonder Nigeria then cascades into the abyss.
    Wherever journalists worship rogues there the spirit of progress can never be. Such is Nigeria.

    • Swagger

      Go and sit down if you are new to Premium Times…

  • Felix Udoh

    The many faces of a hypocrite.

  • Omotolaaraujo

    The government must insure that fuel will be made available to the public and that the government will fix the price of fuel that the government provides. The government must set the price. Marketers can compete with the FG.

  • onenigerian2014

    A dog with two tails has spoken!

  • babateem

    Why you this people talking like this what tinubu said is not mistake he knows what he said and that is normally it should be because of we Nigerian