From Chuks Collins, Awka
Mixed reactions have continued to trail the new price regime in the oil sector which came into effect on New Year’s Day, in major cities in Anambra state.
Chief Morris Ebo, the National President of the Fish Farm Estate Developers Association who threw the support of his organization to the new federal government policy wondered why Nigerians always like fighting themselves on new policies irrespective of how well-meaning the intentions were.
According to him, “the subsidy removal will change the lives of an average Nigerian citizen for the better. It will mark the beginning of financial wisdom for the nation.”He noted that all the organs of government that manages its information and publicity should immediately go to work to create enough grassroots awareness. This would enable and prepare Nigerians to adjust themselves to the initial ripples of the effect of the new policy.
He also want the government to come open with the people all the short term projections of the gains of the subsidy removal, including job creations from more refineries to be built and licensed and so on. How the new open market would benefit all in the long run. He strongly believes that the pump price of products would eventually be determined by the market forces based on demand and supply. Whereas the present high prices of N150 and above might end up not being tenable after all due to market forces just like the GSC communication sector.
He therefore urged Nigerians to allow President Goodluck Jonathan and his Economic Team to bring out more information on how the proceeds from the subsidy would be adjusted to the salaries of civil servants and the common man on the street.
He lamented that a lot of damage could have been done in the strike action already declared by the labour before the government effect a one-on-one discussion on it for clarification.
Fr Martin Onukwuba, who is the coordinator of the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, said “as far as I know every government has to subsidize something. United States of America pours money into motor manufacturing while European countries have areas they subsidize too. So if the FG removes the oil subsidy what other area again would he subsidize in? Mr President has lived in Nigeria all these years and has seen the plight of the people. He knows what we know. We do not want to regret voting for his emergence”.
The national coordinator of the National Association on Women and Gender and Education (NAWOPEG), Grace Nnadozie said her group’s apprehension was on the government’s sincerity on what it intends to do with the proceeds of the deregulation. She said it would have been better carried out when all the existing refineries in the country have been put to optimal uses, and all avenues of leakages in the sector tackled.
Okey Onyeka of the Civil Rights Concern described the future as gloomy for the nation as it’s not only through excruciating pains for the masses that the Rev government makes money.