Happy New Year(Really?). All the same we give thanks to God for making us see the new year. This week a friend of mine David Parker who you can find here made strong points about the removal of fuel subsidy is a guest on my blog. Enjoy his piece.
Its 2nd of january, 2012 in Nigeria and a greeting of ‘Happy New Year’ is met with an instant frown and reeling out of reasons to be unhappy. The ‘PDP led insensitive government’ is majorly blamed for the woes that surely lies ahead. The euphoria of the New Year celebration has been replaced with the repressive effect of the official announcement of FUEL SUBSIDY REMOVAL.
In fairness to the government, it had forewarned its citizens of hard times ahead, but apparently a good percentage of the populace were contented with not paying attention to what policies the government proposed to implement in the coming year. This conclusion is reached on the strength of the number of Lagos residents who expressed surprise at the increase in fuel (PMS) price. It is important to state that it is not uncommon for Nigerians especially the poor, and barely educated (mind you which forms the larger part of her population) to have a dogmatic mindset that the policies of the government is not of concern to him/her. The proposal for removing fuel subsidy was debated at various levels and was the first choice headline for national dailies as the year 2011 wound up. However, such an issue of multiplier effect as Nigerian’s are beginning to witness managed successfully not to catch the attention of every sane Nigerian at its proposal stage.
Today, the citizens now magically appear to have put on their thinking caps and all have ‘brilliant questions’ to ask the government. I do hope they ask important questions. One of such should be why the government was and is not proposing to slash the wage of our elected legislative representatives by 117 % in order to reduce cost of government. The need for this question is founded on the argument that the government will achieve the same purpose for removal of fuel subsidy but this time around will be applauded by her citizens. It is not enough for the Minister of finance, Okonjo Iweala to say that the Jonathan led administration is looking at ways to reduce the cost of manpower and eliminate bureaucracy in his government. Nigerians should request that the remuneration package of every federally appointed and elected public office holder be slashed by 117% as swiftly as fuel subsidy was removed.
How i will love to see the government turn the issues raised in the above questions into policies, or Nigerians having a well-organized and representative platform to lawfully and peacefully express dissent against the government’s actions. Oh..Oh..i remember, there is a self-serving body called the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC). A body which on countless occasions that history reminds us threatens the government by pretending to align and speak for the masses and those who constitute the labour force of the country but upon settlement of its key officers, betray the common Nigerian whose only request is a fair and good government. The official removal of fuel subsidy has presented the opportunity for the betrayal scene of the masses by the NLC to be acted so early in 2012. In its habitual bravado style the NLC has threatened to ask for a nationwide strike until the federal government reverses the removal of fuel subsidy. I am anxious to see events play out and implore Nigerian’s to watch with close attention as the NLC should be ranked pari pasu with the government when it comes to trust.
If the betraying personality of the NLC is not enough reason to be concerned, then you should try to understand and appreciate the negative multiplier effect of the removal of fuel subsidy on your standard of living and the Nigerian economy holistically. To borrow the unpopular phrase of Governor Fashola, the apparent teething problem of implementing this policy will stem from the fact that Nigeria’s economy is over dependent on oil, an increase in the price of PMS results in artificial scarcity, panic demand for fuel products, queues at filling stations and a sky rocket movement of prices of commodities. The running cost of business is increased and should relatively affect the price of the goods and services rendered by the organization. The price inflation of goods and services will mean the spending power of employees is shrinked, employees in turn will demand for an upward review of their wages to enable them match their expenditure and the list is non-exhaustive. A representative government will have no choice than to give in to pressure and we will be back to square one because the economic recovery from subsidy will be expended by the government.
It is glaring for all to see that the time for Nigerian’s to remind the government of who is sovereign is drawing close. As the hour nears, it is important that we put aside our differences and face every monster that intends to perpetually dominate Nigerian’s.
It can still be a happy new year, let’s stand up and fight any form of oppression.