The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has described the Nigerian government’s controversial subsidy regime as “an organised crime.”
Mr Obi, who lamented the controversies surrounding the subsidy during a town hall meeting organised by Channels Television on Sunday, said he would not allow it to stay any longer, should he be elected as Nigeria’s president in the next election.
The Nigerian government has, for decades, subsidised fuel and fixed retail prices of petroleum products.
In November 2021, the federal government announced its plan to remove the fuel subsidy and replace it with a monthly N5,000 transport grant for poor Nigerians. But the government later suspended the plan after the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) threatened to embark on mass protests.
Speaking on Sunday, Mr Obi said: “I can assure you, it (subsidy) will go immediately. The subsidy, I have said before, is an organised crime and I will not allow it to stay a day longer.
“What they are telling you is not what it is. Half of what is being mentioned is not subsidy. First is that we consume the quantity that is not supposed to be consumed here,” he said.
According to Mr Obi, the money spent on petrol subsidy should be channelled into social development.
“Look at this year’s budget. Education, which is the highest since this government came, is about N2 trillion. Health, which is the highest since this government came, is about N1.5 trillion. Then infrastructure, which is roads and everything, is about N1 trillion.
“These three critical development areas are receiving N4.5 trillion. Subsidy is N3.6 trillion half year. So, if it’s a full year, it is about N7 trillion. Which country will invest more in subsidy than education, health and even roads? It doesn’t make sense,” he said.
The former governor of Anambra State said Nigeria has the same population as Pakistan.
“They (Pakistan) consume below 50 per cent of what we consume. So, the first half, I will remove it so we can save the money,” he said.
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