Barely a week after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the Federal Government to end fuel subsidy, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has joined the fray , saying over N9 trillion has so far been wasted on the scheme in the the last 10 years.
Expressing concerns over the corruption-ridden fuel subsidy regime and the increasing debt profile of the nation, the association lamented that in the same period, N15.5 trillion was spent on capital expenditure, N2.1 trillion on health and about N3.9 trillion on education.
“This is a misplacement of priority and shows that critical developmental items such as education, health and infrastructure have suffered due to the expenditure on fuel subsidy”, said its Director General, Timothy Olawale.
The association’s reaction was coming as the usual fuel scarcity conundrum was re-surfacd again, with the attendant suffering.
Speaking in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Olawale stated: “Like a sore that has refused to heal, the recurrent issue of fuel scarcity has reared its ugly head again. We are where we are today because, despite past sound counsel, government has not been faithful to the deregulation of the PMS market of the downstream sector of the oil and gas. Let us ponder and ask ourselves where the non-deregulation of the petroleum sector has led our economy: continued dependence on offshore sources for petroleum products supply, perennial shortage of petroleum products, loss of productive man hours as a result of endless hours spent at filling stations, massive and unimaginable corruption in the management of the subsidy dispensation” stressing that subsidy regime is not sustainable.
Giving insight into the need for urgent deregulation of the downstream oil sector, the NECA boss stated that the fuel subsidy regime has only succeeded in creating phony and emergency billionaire at the expense of millions of pauperised Nigerians.
In the same vein, Olawale expressed concern over the country’s growing debt stock with huge percentage of the budget, going to debt servicing in the past decade.