|INCREASE IN PETROLEUM PRICE AND ELECTRICITY BILL: CISLAC CALLS FOR COMMENSURATE ACTION OF THE GOVERNMENT TO CUSHION THE HARDSHIP ON ITS CITIZENS|
By Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani )
It is a very big disappointment to see Nigerian Government increasing the cost of living despite the ongoing unprecedented socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic that has continued to render many individuals and households incapacitated to finance basic needs, as necessitated by resultant job losses and imbalance in the foreign exchange.
Apart from the recent announcement by the Electricity Distribution Authority to increase electricity tariff without an iota of intervention by the Federal Government, the latest Government’s pronouncement to increase fuel pump price are clear indications of total disconnect between Government and the people.
We are surprised that in spite of whopping unaccounted domestic and foreign donations to support and rescue the country, as well as reported repatriation of huge looted sums to the nation’s treasury, the Government has not devised adequate measures to mainstream the funds in re-financing deficit in its budget.
Also, we have, on several occasions drawn the Government’s attention to the existing loopholes in the petroleum industry which have not tampered with neither the law nor the structure of governance in the sector. It becomes a thing of worry what the basis of these regulations being churned out by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) are based upon.
We expected that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic would provide the Government with a much-needed lesson towards holistic innovative thinking, like every other civilized nation, to block and harness these loopholes to mitigate people’s socio-economic plight.
The biggest challenge with political office holders in Nigeria is the ability to recognize the fact that they are serving the people, the citizens; the positions they hold is on trust. Since they fail to recognize this fact, they go ahead and churn out instructions, policies and regulations as if we were in a military junta. No explanations are made on why some decisions were taken. This makes even the best of these decisions to seem anti-people because the people do not relate with such.
Some basic facts are to be acknowledged:
- The government cannot sustain some wasteful subsidy regime
- The toll that the pandemic has taken on the world economy is unprecedented.
We are also worried that the government have not deemed it necessary for a rethink of the system of governance in Nigeria. The cost of governance has not changed a bit; it is still business as usual for the political office holders. There have been no noticeable adjustment in governance to face the new reality.
We therefore call on the government to cut down on the cost of governance at all levels of government.
We ask that the government put measures that will ensure prudent use of the borrowed resources.
The government should take time to relate with the people with explanations of some of these policy directions, their relevance and contribution to the entire citizens at large.
The government should also seek expert advice, especially from the private sector who has the wherewithal as to better ways of tackling some of these economic issues and not depend on political advice that will only seek to patronize the ego of the party faithfuls. This is the time for efficiency and effectiveness, nothing less.
CSIALC remains committed to ensuring that undue burden is not placed on the masses while others live off their sweat.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)