Many Nigerians will die of hardship if the Federal Government decides to remove the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit without a better alternative, the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayba Wabba, has said.
Wabba who said this during an interview on Channels TV, claimed that Nigerians who are benefiting from fuel subsidy have frustrated the resuscitation of the country’s moribund refineries.
He said, “We are continuing to drag the process to remove the subsidy, the so-called subsidy, I want you to put the word subsidy in quotes.
“Then basically also, you know, what it entails, we have no other option than also to resist the policy and basically we have done that time without number.
“This is not happening here, only the issue why many Nigerians feel that we ought not to be in this situation is because we have oil.
“God has given us oil freely. What has happened to us that we cannot even refine it. Take for instance the diesel, I said that modular refineries can be built in 12 months or 18 months. Why can’t we do that?
“So, in this complex issue, if we compound it with the price hike of PMS, it then means that many people will go to their graves. So, it’s better we then try to also resist the issue and make sure that people are safe.”
The Federal Government is expected to fully remove fuel subsidy in July 2022.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed had said in November 2021 that the Federal Government has only made provision for subsidy up to June 2022 in the 2022 budget.
To reduce the impact on over 40 million poorest Nigerians, there are plans to replace the subsidy with a controversial N5,000 stipend which will last for a year.
“Basically, it’s about life and death for us, those on fixed wages. It is about now looking at the issue, and importantly that the whole world is now in a very precarious situation.
“Many workers have lost their jobs. That one fix wages, their salary cannot take them. That’s the reality,” he added.
The World Bank said in November last year that Nigeria spends $4.5bn on fuel subsidy, which is about 2 per cent of GDP.