Nigeria Governors’Forum (NGF) assailed the N3 trillion petrol subsidy claimed by the NNPC and dismissed it as fraught with fraud.
Chairman of the forum, Kayode Fayemi said this Wednesday night at a meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Abuja.
He said the governors doubt the N3 trillion petrol subsidy bandied by the NNPC and urged labour unions such as the oil industry PENGASSAN to join the forum to verify the figure.
He said that the governors through their internal mechanisms had already discovered that what was being paid was higher than what was actually being declared by the country’s petroleum industry managers.
“We need a partnership with the NLC to confront the challenges of what the NNPC is about, because there is a lot of fraud in the consumption and distribution figures that the country is getting”, Fayemi said.
We need a partnership with the NLC to confront the challenges of what the NNPC is about, because there is a lot of fraud in the consumption and distribution figures that the country is getting”, Fayemi said.
Fayemi said that subsidy removal has remained an on-going conversation not just among governors but the entire country, hence the governors must be part of the solution providers.
“This is because there are raging questions of accountability associated with the issue subsidy removal in the country,” he said
He said that both the NGF and the NLC could jointly work together to proffer solutions that would heal the economy and provide succour to the Nigerian people.
“Nigerian governors cannot ignore the economics of petroleum, this is because all the countries surrounding Nigeria including Niger, Mali, Cameroun and Ghana have their fuel pump price that is equivalent to a U. S dollar, while Nigeria has a pump price that is far less than a dollar.
“We can only move forward if the NLC engages all those who are knowledgeable in the field like PENGASSAN to conduct a thorough research into the sector before any further action is taken on subsidy,” Fayemi said.
He stated that only about eight states were benefitting directly from the subsidy while all the others had to contend with the situation on their own.
The governor insisted that the partnership with the NLC must confront the perennial issue of palliatives for the common man towards cushioning the effects of subsidy removal on the citizenry.
“Not tackling the problem now is tantamount to postponing the evil day. Finding succour for the ordinary Nigerian at this time is absolutely imperative and necessary now more than ever,” Fayemi said.
He, however, pleaded with labour to jettison the decision to embark on nationwide protest and join hands with governors to consider the dimensions at play on the subsidy removal.
Fayemi said Nigeria’s economy is at the precipice and failure of the Federal Government to be decisive on the petrol subsidy is like postponing the evil day,
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo cautioned that Nigeria had a choice of continuing to behave like Santa Claus or take concrete actions, rather than throwing away N3 trillion on subsidy.
Obaseki suggested that the nation could in the interim, increase productivity to reduce imports and create jobs.
He also emphasised that the country would do well to revamp the power sector, without which Nigeria would continue to throw millions of its citizens into unemployment, and ultimately, poverty.
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, who joined the meeting virtually, stated that the two groups must find options and create opportunities to address the hardships that stare the people on the face.
Lalong who said that the forum had been on the matter for three years, added that the painstaking work that led to the solutions that the NGF highlighted took a year to script together .
He said the two groups should immediately set out to work to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
Wednesday’s meeting with the NLC leadership led by its president Comrade Ayuba Waba, followed the NGF meeting of Jan.19 in Abuja.