Monday, 31 October 2011

Aminu backs fuel subsidy removal

ABUJA—Former Minister of Petroleum
Resources, Senator Jibril Aminu, weekend,
threw his weight behind President
Goodluck Jonathan’s move to remove the
contentious fuel subsidy.
He said only Nigeria’s neighbours enjoyed
the over N1 trillion being spent annually
by the government in executing the policy.
Prof. Aminu, also a former Minister of
Education, said the country could not
sustain the huge expenditure for too long
as very few Nigerians enjoyed the subsidy
while the masses of neighbouring countries
fed fat on the policy.
He said: “I am not going to mince words,
honestly speaking, the subsidy is too
much. Subsidy is just being used to convey
these petroleum products to our
neighbouring countries.
“How much is it costing the country?
When I was the Petroleum Minister, it
used to cost about N100 million to convey
the subsidy, not even the subsidy itself,
but to deliver it.
”When you look at it, it is not something
that we can sustain and I believe that
NNPC has a responsibility to bring the
figures out now and let Nigerians know
what we are losing by way of this subsidy,”
he said.
The former minister noted that
government position over the years had
been misunderstood because of the method
used in conveying it to the public.
Advising the federal government to create
means of cushioning the effect of the
fuel subsidy removal, Prof. Aminu urged
officials of the Nigeria National
Petroleum Corporation to educate the
public on the actual amount federal
government spent annually on fuel
“The British have a saying that it is not
what you do but how you do it . It is not
what you say but how you say it. I am
convinced that with the way things are
going now in this country, we cannot
continue with this oil subsidy indefinitely.
“It is impossible considering the amount
we are spending. Look at the figures. We
all must have done some science while in
school,” he said.
He noted that the money spent on fuel
subsidy this could have been used to develop
the educational system, roads, agriculture
etc now going to one sector only, stressing
that if the energy was used 100 percent
for the benefit of Nigerians, that would
have been okay.
He advocated a gradual removal of the
subsidy, and noted that for Nigerians to
accept government’s position, which will
benefit the country in the long run, the
government could develop a policy to
gradually remove the subsidy
Prof. Aminu, however, emphasised the
need for government to raise the
sensitivity and awareness of the people to
the problem, noting that “ the people also
must see that we are living by what we
“Before I am misunderstood as a man who
does not have sympathy for the common
man, I believe that in the Abacha days,
they found some answers to this problem
by withdrawing the subsidy, taking the
money saved and using it on things;
developmental activities which people could
“That was the difference that Petroleum
Trust Fund, PTF, made. They were
making roads, building hospitals, buying
drugs; things that states and local
governments should do were being done by
the PTF. So in my opinion, there are ways
we can remove the subsidy and not make
people feel bad about it.
“Another thing with PTF was that it was
in a military era and there was no need to
consult states but now, there need to be
some agreement among the states, local
and the federal governments. If the idea
is just to increase the pump price, then
risk some kind of resistance from the

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