Petrol price: Millions of jobs to be created – Minister

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Abuja  –   Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Thursday said the benefits of recent increase in pump price of petrol would surpass the pains currently borne by Nigerians.
Mohammed said this in Abuja at a meeting between the Federal Government and national and state executives of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The meeting was an interface to keep the party’s top officers abreast of recent happenings and decisions of the Federal Government.
According to Mohammed, liberalisation of the downstream operations of the oil sector would create more jobs for the unemployed, guarantee the jobs of the employed and boost investment.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, after paying over N1 trillion in subsidies and N522 billion in 2015 through a supplementary budget, intentionally did not provide for subsidy payments in 2016 budget.
Mohammed said, “this price regime is going to encourage more investments in refineries and in the downstream sector.
“If you notice three or four days ago, 37 companies were jostling to invest in refineries in Nigeria just because we opened up the sector.
“Again, this price regime will lead to creation of more jobs because when people invest in the downstream sector, when they invest in refining there’ll be more jobs and will also save existing jobs.
“We can see a minimum of 200,000 new jobs being created and save existing 400,000 jobs. Those are the benefits of this new price regime.’’
He said that the Federal Government preferred investment that would drive growth in all sectors of the economy.
He explained that like all sectors, “when policies are first introduced, prices will go up but it will definitely come down, it is about market forces.
“Again, this is the only government that out of its own conviction, love for the poor people made available half a trillion Naira in the budget without any provocation, without anyone protesting to take care of the common man.’’
Mohammed listed employment of 500,000 graduates and 100,000 non-graduates, technicians and artisans and one-meal-a-day, targeting 5.5 million pupils all over Nigeria as strategic programmes to uplift Nigerians in the immediate.
Describing the daily feeding of the children as “most exciting’’ he said “even if we are going to give the children one egg a day, it means we will need 5.5 million eggs and in a calendar year of 200 days we will need over a billion eggs.
“You can imagine what this will do to agriculture. Fourthly, we have the Enterprise scheme which is a system of revolving loan.
“We are targeting one million market women and men, 460,000 artisans and technicians and 200,000 agricultural workers to be given loans through their cooperatives to start their own businesses.
“Finally, we have the N5, 000 conditional cash transfers to one million most vulnerable Nigerians as a first phase.
“Then, finally we have bursaries, scholarships for all students in Nigeria studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“I must tell you that even the labour is impressed with this and we are already working together with them to ensure that this thing is implemented faithfully.’’
The meeting was attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and his Education counterpart, Alhaji Adamu Adamu. (NAN)

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