It is no news whatsoever that the country is in a great economic turmoil which has resulted in a serious amount of suffering experienced by the citizens of the country. The previously rich are now comfortable, the at one time comfortable are now poor while those who were previously poor are now lavishing in absolute and abject poverty. When trying to examine the cause of this desolate condition, one could point fingers in as many directions as possible because a lot of sectors are malfunctioning but one stands out: the issue of transport or in other words the cost of fuel.

It could be remembered that on the day of his swearing in, the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy. This news raised a lot of dust at the time not because the move was wrong but because of the timing and manner in which the decision was made. However, it might interest us to note that believe it or not, subsidy has been reintroduced but no announcement has been made as regards to that. You may be asking, how is that possible? Well, to answer this question, deep research and study has revealed that if we are to add the international prices to the fuel, we are meant to be paying between ₦1000-₦1100 as against the ₦600-₦700 we are currently paying. One would now ask, why is the cost of fuel still this high despite the reintroduction of subsidy?

The greatest undoing of Nigeria as regards fuel has been and still is the sale of crude domestic consumption in dollars. Nigeria has an estimated daily consumption of about 400000-500000 barrels of crude and the sale of this in dollars has been really killing the economy. There are three crucial costs in crude: (i) the crude cost, (ii) the tax crude and (iii) the profit or profit crude. The transaction in dollars does only one thing, which is to highly increase the costs of the crude. Having known this, it is safe to say that the solution to this problem is not far-fetched. NNPC, which is the major regulation and controlling body of fuel in Nigeria, should sell this crude to the 27 odd local refineries in naira. If this happens, we will succeed in halving the cost of fuel and this in no way is similar to subsidy. Other practical ways of tackling this problem is the encouragement of local production of crudes, the provision of room to allow the indigenous owners of modular refineries come on board in production and the application of subsidy to the refineries producing crude locally.

Looking at all these, it might take a while for the government to properly implement these things, thus there’s a need for provision of palliatives. Personally, I’m not a fan of personal palliatives such as cash, food items and all that because over the years, they have proven considerably ineffective. Rather, I am an advocate of institutional palliatives. Some of the institutional palliatives which will go a long way in alleviating the suffering of Nigerians pending the implementation of the above stated policies are: (i) abolishing school fees in the government owned schools for  a certain period of time  (ii) abolishing medical fees in government owned hospitals for a given amount of time and (iii) the sustenance of the removal of the 7.5% VAT on diesel. With all these in place and the introduction of some other institutional palliatives in place, Nigerians can apply the needed patience as they allow the government to implement these policies.

We all hope and pray for a better Nigeria, so help us God.

– Okoronkwo Nmesomachi Gospel


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