A total of 82 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), under the aegis of Civil Society Coalition for Economic Development (CED), have hailed President Muhammadu Buhari over plans to end the subsidy regime in Nigeria.
The coalition gave the commendation in a seven-point communique issued at the end of a conference of the Coalition in Abuja on Friday.
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In the communique, which was signed by the convener, Yusuf Dan Maitama, and the Secretary, Badaru Ayewoh, the coalition said it was the right step in the right direction.
It pleaded with the organised labour not to embark on strike on account of ending subsidies.
The coalition noted that the subsidy regime was unsustainable, adding that the best way to tackle the problem was to remove subsidies.
According to the communique, the conference, titled: “Fuel Subsidy Removal in Nigeria”, was deliberately chosen in view of the realities of the times.
He said that if the money being paid as the cost of fuel subsidy was channelled into the provision of infrastructure and other social sectors of the economy, there would be growth and development.
They further recommended that the fuel subsidy regime be stopped from January 2022.
They said the subsidy regime was a major challenge forcing the federal government into external borrowing.
They said: “The resource persons who are world-class researchers in the oil and gas industry extrapolated issues bordering on Nigeria’s oil and gas industry and identified Nigeria’s major economic challenges as that of the active fuel subsidy regime.
“In the group discussions, participants were unanimous that Nigeria was the only country in the world that sustained fuel subsidy regime for the past 20 years.
“The fuel subsidy regime was a capitalist and elitist policy that services only the top-heavy, hence, successive governments found it difficult to implement their economic policies.
“It was pointed out that the federal government spends N250 billion on fuel subsidy every month.
“The development, discussants averred was largely responsible for national debts as revenue coming into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) account are used to settle the fuel subsidy.”
They urged the federal government to forward a budget for N5000 grants to be disbursed to citizens to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal in 2022. (NAN)