Nigeria: Subsidy Removal - Past Govts Lacked Courage to Take Action - Presidency

Offshore drilling. Oil rig.
6 September 2020

THE Presidency last night came to the defence of President Muhammadu Buhari over the removal of petroleum subsidy, that led to the increase in the petroleum pump price, saying that though it had long been seen as the right thing to do, previous administrations lacked the courage to take the action.

The Presidency said President, Buhari had to take the difficult decisions, both popular and unpopular, stressing that as a leader, he was demonstrating the right courage to take such decisions as they become necessary in view of present circumstances

This was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja.

The statement noted that subsidy removal had long been seen as a game-changer by successive administrations but the courage to implement the reforms was lacking.

It said more than the expectations of critics, history will be kind to Buhari for eliminating the evil of corruption embedded in subsidies.

The Presidency noted the argument of critics as to the timing of the subsidy removal and admonished that what the President needed now was the support of all including the opposition.

According to the statement: "The All Progressives Congress, APC came to power in 2015 defeating an incumbent administration amidst very high expectations from President Muhammadu Buhari.

"Five years on, the administration has worked hard to meet many expectations, but still, there are certain tough decisions which had to be taken to put back the country on the path of sustainable development.

"To stop the mismanagement of taxpayer money, eliminate corruption associated with subsidies on petroleum products, power, fertilizer among others, the administration took the decision to implement long-delayed reforms, withdraw and allow the market to determine their prices.

"Over the last few days, one claim acquiring a potent resonance with the online community, sections of the labour movement and the opposition is that the actions are ill-timed and ill-advised.

"There is nothing new in the fact that the country is today fighting multiple challenges along with COVID-19, including low earnings, near-collapse of the oil market, floods, threats of terrorism and banditry but the challenges notwithstanding, a good government must take decisions for the people's good.

"As President, Muhammadu Buhari takes these difficult decisions, both popular and unpopular and as a leader because he is demonstrating the right courage to take such decisions as they become necessary in view of present circumstances.

"History will be kind to President Buhari because in addition to his amazing ability to command votes, he will be remembered as the President who made real contributions to economic and overall national development by eliminating the evils of corruption embedded in subsidies.

"In any democracy, the most important certificate in governance is acceptance by the people and, with the support of ordinary Nigerians, President Buhari has shown a rare determination to carry out the bold initiatives as these ones driven by nothing other than the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

"In carrying out the reforms, the President needs the support and understanding of all citizens-inclusive of the opposition parties, the labour movement and civil society groups.

"In these challenging times, the President is pushing development goals, not politics and history will judge him in favourable terms rather than his critics in the new media and the opposition."

Vanguard News Nigeria

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