Its been six weeks since President Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced the discontinuation of subsidy on petrol and between then and now the Nigerian masses – the low and middle income earners have been going through untold hardship.
The removal of subsidy on petrol which is no longer news since May 29 has paved the way for oil marketers to start cashing out on the Nigerian masses – tripling the prices of petrol which of course that has always been their motive since the subsidisation of petrol eight years ago.
Six weeks after, the Federal Government is just waking up from its slumber on what to do to cushion the effect of the no-subsidy dispensation.
Overtnews on Wednesday reported that the President wrote to the National Assembly to approve the sum of N500 billion from the 2022 supplementary Appropriation Act of N819.5 billion.
The request according to the President was necessary “to provide palliatives to cushion the effect of the recent removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria.”
This rather ought to have been the President’s first step and action from his first day in office since he knew that subsidy would no longer be tenable going forward before going ahead with it.
This is like putting the cart before the horse. It is understandable that the President is trying to block leakages and save money but in a sane clime taking a major decision that will negatively affect a larger percentage of the people ought to be carefully thought out and put in place buffers so that when moves are being made the negative impact on the people will not be much.
The President has dovish in the area of the economy for the masses since the start of his administration.
Its been six weeks after, workers salaries have not been increased, no provision of mass transit for workers, artisans and students who commute daily to their places of assignments.
Since the tripling of prices of petrol hours after his inauguration transportation cost has gone up astronomically, workers have been spending more on transportation for the first time in eight years while still receiving the same salary figure with no upward adjustment.
One of the last hopes for the masses – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) was initially resistant to the subsidy removal but after few statements in the media they have returned to their caecum.
The organised labour have not been active in recent years – they have become toothless bull dogs.
The president needs to wake up and start feeling the pulse of the masses caused by the subsidy removal.
The government need to roll out social programmes targeted at the masses who on a daily basis bear the brunt of the subsidy removal.
The president need to tell Nigerians what he will do with the N500 billion because it is obvious that the said amount will not get into the hands of those who need it much to meet their immediate needs but would end up in the pockets of those who have been milking this country’s resources.
State Governors should be mandated to come up with a plan on how to alleviate the sufferings of their citizens – women and youths, students and artisans, daily income earners must be considered.