By CHRIS SULEIMAN, Abuja
A group of chairmen of the state chapters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is the South-South states in conjunction with the National Vice-Chairman South-South zone of the party have given reasons why they supported the removal of the fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
A statement signed by the National Vice Chairman, Chief Ita Hilard on Tuesday, which AUTHENTIC News Daily got a copy of, revealed that the sharp practices indulged in by those responsible for marketing and distribution of the product, thereby causing unnecessary hardship and suffering to Nigerians was part of the reason they are supporting the federal government’s deregulation programme.
The statement read thus; “The subsidy was intended as a palliative measure by government to cushion the effect of the relatively high cost of petrol and related products, however, in a bizarre twist, most of the people involved in the importation, distribution and marketing of petroleum products blatantly indulge in underhand practices to create a never ending artificial scarcity which shot prices very high as recently experienced in the country.”
The south-south APC called on Nigerians to support the deregulation as they have declared their unequivocal support for this timely measure and as such, all well-meaning compatriots should rally in support of the deregulation.
They added that “It has been public knowledge long before this time that importers regularly divert products already subsidized with taxpayers money to neighbouring countries for their own pecuniary gains to the detriment of the people and the government of Nigeria.”
Chief Ita also said “Asides this, for several months, forex has been unavailable for imports and the NNPC has had to devise alternative measures to ensure continued importation of the product.
A situation where scarce resources are used to fund the importation of petroleum products which at the end does not even directly benefit the common man is completely unacceptable.”
They also expressed optimism that “We are convinced that given the opportunity, the deregulation policy will yield positive dividends in the short and long run.
“Already, market forces are in action to crash the price of petrol as government is no longer directly involved in price fixing. It is in the news that A. A. Rano, Forte Oil and other big players in the downstream sector are already selling far below the one hundred and forty-five naira. This is a practical demonstration of the fact that the policy will bring about lower pricing of petrol and ensure stable supply of the product soon.
They however admitted that “Although there shall be a short period of flaws while the policy takes shape, it is certain that once the savings from subsidy money are ploughed into areas of infrastructure and human capital development in accordance with the manifesto of the APC, everyone will benefit in one way or the other and Nigeria will be the better for it.
The statement however concluded with an appeal that “It is therefore imperative that we collectively, as progress minded country men and women, rally to ensure the success of this policy which will end scarcity of petrol and the resultant exorbitant prices we have been made to endure all these years.
We also exhort the organised labour to support government to ensure the success of this policy as the sacrifices made by Nigerians will certainly not be in vain.”