A civic organisation known as Connected Development (CODE), has said that Nigeria’s petrol subsidy regime means poor people will subsidize the rich on petroleum.
Chief Executive Officer of CODE, Mallam Hamzat Lawal, made the comment while speaking on Hard Copy, an interview programme aired on Friday, May 12, on Channels Television.
Mallam Lawal noted that the Nigerian government’s continued fuel subsidy payment is unacceptable.
He said: “We are subsidizing the rich, not the poor. The poor are actually bearing the brunt. And we spend over N50 billion daily in subsidizing the rich people who can afford it.”
Mallam Lawal was reacting to the Buhari-led administration’s plan to secure a World Bank loan to be distributed to about 50 million vulnerable Nigerians or 10 million households as part of its fuel subsidy palliatives measures.
The move had caused outrage nationwide, with many criticising the outgoing government for taking the decision a few weeks before leaving office.
Mallam Lawal urged the National Assembly to call for a public hearing concerning the loan, noting that it will help ensure that all the grey areas concerned are addressed.
On whether the loan is necessary at a time the government is on its way out, Mallam Lawal said:
“Taking a loan is not bad, but what do we do with this loan? People are poor. We have poor people, and it is not their doing that they are poor. And as a government, as people, we must care for these poor people.”
He also advised that the government can explore the Open Government Partnership platform to ensure transparency in its spending.
His words: “We have the Open Government Partnership that brings civil society, media, and government together, and it is being co-chaired by government and civil society.
“It’s just for us to have this robust conversation and even for the government to agree, and then we set a timeline. This is not rocket science. This is public money given to you based on public trust.”