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Fuel subsidies are not tenable, say APC governors

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The gasoline subsidy regime, according to the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), is not a viable arrangement for the country’s economy.

At a briefing in Abuja on Friday, members of the forum also expressed their support for the decision taken by President Bola Tinubu on the issue.

Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo, who spoke to State House correspondents after a meeting with the president, said the decision to remove fuel subsidy was an inherited legacy by the administration.

He said that what Nigerians should be talking about now is sustainable alternatives that would benefit every citizen, adding that subsidy removal was long overdue.

“Firstly, the decision about removing fuel subsidy was what presidential candidates promised Nigerians during their campaigns. It is not something new.

“What the president did was only to say there is no allocation for subsidy in the 2023 budget from June, and that’s the reality.

“The removal of fuel subsidy was what we had decided as members of the economic team during the last administration of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.

Uzodinma said that the history of oil deregulation was a long one that required patriotic responsibility to be tackled once and for all.

“One may wonder why the rush to increase pump prices immediately. Since May 29, I don’t think anybody has imported fuel. What they are selling is still the old stock. We really need to be our brothers’ keepers. There is no way we can be like other nations that we admire without incorporating global practices. The private and public sectors must collaborate to ensure an economy that is free, fair, and competitive,” he said.

The governor added that the real issue remains that not many Nigerians are enjoying the benefits of the subsidy as intended by government.

“I am sure not many Nigerians are aware of the real issue of oil subsidy and those who are benefiting from it. The fact still remains that no nation can develop through unsustainable economic policies like the oil subsidy. A responsible government must look at it holistically and take a decision that is in the best interest of the citizens,” he said.

On the measures to be taken to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal, Uzodinma said that the federal government was working out measures for that.

He said: “Don’t forget that the President is a man of the people. He was the first governor to increase workers’ salaries in Lagos State. This time, we know he will do the same.’’

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