By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – President Bola Tinubu on Friday described fuel subsidy as a “scam” and disincentive to growth, saying it rewarded smugglers and reduced the burden of the “real cost” of the commodity for some countries.
Tinubu made the assertion during a meeting with members of the Nigerian community in France, said a statement by his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, later that day.
Addressing Nigerians in France, Tinubu explained that the Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Wale Edun and Alake had excluded fuel subsidy removal from his inaugural speech, “but he felt it was expedient to stop the subsidy on the first day”.
President Bola Tinubu meets with Nigerians in Paris, France on Friday, June 23, 2023. Photo: State House
This marked the first time the President would publicly comment on his May 29 inaugural speech, in which he declared that “fuel subsidy is gone”.
The comment sparked a near-instant hike in prices and hoarding, leading to calls for protests by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). This is despite former President Muhammadu Buhari’s early moves to end the payment of fuel subsidy by June.
The President promised to reposition the education and health sectors, adding that ongoing reforms on the economy would be sustained and expanded, with a view to relieving families struggling with the burden of poverty and insecurity.
The remarks come 11 days after the President signed the Students Loan Bill into law.
See the full statement below:
DIASPORA NIGERIANS POUR ENCOMIUMS ON PRESIDENT TINUBU FOR DECISIVE ACTION ON ECONOMY, PRESIDENT PROMISES TURN AROUND IN EDUCATION, HEALTH, SPORTS, SECURITY,
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Friday in Paris–France assured Nigerians of repositioning the education and health sectors, while the ongoing reforms on the economy will be sustained and expanded, with a view to relieving families struggling with the burden of poverty and insecurity.
In an interactive session with members of Nigerian community living in France, who lauded President Tinubu for taking bold, decisive and visionary steps in fixing the economy, the Nigerian leader said more creative and innovate policies will be explored and implemented in areas that directly impact livelihood of Nigerians, like electricity sports and energy.
“To all of you, our hope renewed,’’ he said, welcoming plethora of suggestions going forward for the economy, and explaining some of the short-term and long-term framework for providing growth opportunities for individuals, families and institutions.
President Tinubu said the interest of Nigerians will always be protected, even in engagements with the international community, governments and multilateral institutions on global issues relating to climate change, energy transition, food security, trade, security and diplomacy.
“We have transport challenges, electricity challenges, infrastructural challenges and others. I let out the giant elephant of fuel subsidy without bringing down the house,’’ he said, adding, “Our diversity is our asset, if we know how to use it.’’
“We must promote unity and stability for all. Whether you voted for me during the elections, or not, I am your President. I will work on your behalf to ensure a turning point of prosperity,’’ the President told the gathering of professionals, including David Alaba, a footballer.
The President said he was presented with an option of meeting with a handful of Nigerians in France, but he preferred a larger number, pledging to be persistent, determined and focused on reforms for a better country.
President Tinubu explained that the fuel subsidy was a “scam” and disincentive to growth as it rewarded smugglers and reduced the burden of real cost of the commodity for some countries.
He said the Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Wale Edun and Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, had excluded fuel subsidy removal in his inaugural speech, but he felt it was expedient to stop the subsidy on the first day.
“It was the next day I called the GMD of NNPL,’’ he said.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to France, Kayode Laro, thanked the President for accepting the proposal for the meeting with Nigerians on short notice and tight schedule, while the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Ereluwa introduced some of the experts in France.
“We have Nigerians who are doing great today among us. We have the diaspora day and diaspora investment summit that provides opportunities for us to celebrate them, and attract new interests,’’ she said.
Prof Emmanuel Iga, Abiodun Odunuga, Anino Elawa, commended the President for the great steps taken in three weeks to reposition the economy.
“You have shown we have a committed and competent leader. You are the first President, who has no godfather. You are your godfather. We are impressed with removal of subsidy and streamlining of foreign exchange. We will wait for the palliatives,’’ Iga said.
Nigerians at the event assured President Tinubu of their full support for his progressive ideas.
Special Adviser to the President
Special Duties, Communication and Strategy
June 23, 2023