January 1st, 2012. Nigerians got a gift. The PPPRA’s announcement of government’s removal of its subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS / Petrol). Prompting an immediate hike in pump price.
Sudden, yet not sudden. Since October 2011, Our President, Jonathan Goodluck and his cabinet have tried via several means to get Nigerians to say “yes” to the removal. They failed. Even the National House of Assembly disagreed. The removal was enforced by executive order.
I will attempt to bring three things to light here:
- My understanding (without any numbers) of why subsidy should be removed
- The impact of the removal on Nigerians’ everyday lives
- The singular reason we cannot entrust more funds to our government – Trust!
Nigeria needs to stop subsidizing PMS. This is mostly because a large percentage of the money given as subsidy to marketers cannot be justified. Even audit firms called to verify the monies the marketers request have been compromised. Trust is lacking. Another reason is the source of oil subsidy. That our government subsidizes PMS by obtaining foreign loans is concerning. If this continues, foreign debt will mount and as Governor Oshiomhole of Edo state puts it, Nigeria will go bankrupt in no time.
Poverty will take a quantum leap in a few weeks. Jobs will be lost. Companies will go under. Farm produce will go to waste. Citizens (and not-so-citizens) will flee. Why is this? The Nigerian economy, until December 31st 2011, sat shakily on power generated from numerous petrol generators. More than three-quarter of Nigeria’s transportation is by road, in petrol-burning vehicles. A commodity on which two most vital aspects of our livelihood depends has just doubled (tripled in some areas) in price.
In response, Nigerians have taken to the streets – protesting and registering their anger at the inconsiderate action taken by our rulers. Note that I am careful not to refer to the government as leaders. A leader will be the first to take a plunge before asking followers to step on the edge. Our rulers ask us to adjust to a life of greater hardship but are unwilling to live less luxuriously.
Our government has done nothing to make us trust their judgment, words or actions for a long time now. We need LEADERS we can TRUST, who will work selflessly to make Nigeria an enabling society that allows all citizens flourish.
Stand up. Make the “ruling class” understand that we won’t accept their way of handling things anymore.
A word though before you join in: can you TRUST yourself to be forever true to the cause, to never falter?
Thanks. Future generations will thank you.