The All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged Nigerians to endure the pains they might be going through following the increase in pump price of petrol and the hike in electricity tariff.
The party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, made appeal through a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the party is not oblivious of the financial constraints brought by the increases.
The Federal government had last week increased the pump price of petrol from N143 to N151 and electricity tariff to N66 per kwh.
The APC spokesman, however, assured that Nigerians would soon begin to enjoy the gains of the decisions which he said, is in the best interest of all.
According to him, the reviews were crucial and hard-thought decisions by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
“On the positive side, the short and long-term benefits on the citizenry and our national life will become obvious and directly felt in critical sectors such as health, education, infrastructure and social services targeted at the poor.
“We point to shocking estimates by the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER), which reports that the budget for fuel subsidies in 2019 was sufficient to enrol the entire population of Nigeria in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS),” he said.
The APC spokesman recalled that fuel subsidies took over N10 trillion of the country’s national resources since 2006.
He added that it is, however, gladdening that the generality of Nigerians and stakeholders agreed on several reasons fuel subsidy had become unsustainable.
According to him, the perceived benefits of fuel subsidies have long been overtaken by the previous corruption and drain on scarce resources that should be directed to other critical sectors.
Nabena added that in line with the current administration’s deregulation drive and move to increase private sector participation in the petroleum sector, the task before government now was to improve the country’s local refining capacities.
He said the Federal government is already on course to achieving and maintaining a competitive, market-driven, transparent and accountable petroleum pricing template which met global best practices.
He noted that while government is working assiduously to solve the country’s electricity challenges permanently, it realised that many Nigerians and businesses still depended on alternative sources for power supply to meet electricity needs.
This, he explained, is the reason the Federal government is focusing on improving electricity and service delivery.
He added that government is also protecting poor and vulnerable Nigerians from arbitrary and estimated electricity billing by its decision to hike tariff.
“As with government’s decision to increase Nigerian worker’s minimum wage and other social investments, the President Buhari-led APC administration takes the welfare of the citizenry seriously,” he said.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders, government at all levels, private sector organisations, labour unions, civil societies, students and youth groups to support government’s decision on the ongoing deregulation exercise.
The APC spokesman maintained that the citizens would be the ultimate beneficiaries of the decisions at the end of the day.
He urged stakeholders, particularly the organised labour such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), not to be hoodwinked by skewed opposition party narratives on the deregulation exercise and electricity tariffs.
“The same partisans have failed to account for and return trillions of naira stolen from national coffers in the guise of subsidising fuel and the degrading of the electricity sector under their watch,” he said.
Nabena added that this is in spite of huge allocations and subsequent diversion of resources meant to improve the sector.
He said that there is the need for all to support the current administration’s economic policies to uplift the citizenry.