Fuel subsidy palliatives should not be limited to cash distribution — APC chieftain

Bola Babarinde, a former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, South Africa, says government palliative measures to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal should not be limited to cash distribution.

Mr Babarinde in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday, urged the Federal Government to make provision for all sectors of society in the palliatives.

‘”Subsidising essential commodities especially fuel may not be a bad idea after all, if the attendance corruption can be eliminated but it has proven to be a cankerworm eating deeply into government finances.

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“That the alternatively is removing it as it is and introducing innovative sustainable palliatives which should not be limited to given cash handouts.

“There are areas of interventions we need to critical support to reduce or eliminate negative effects of Subsidy Removal, which include but not limited to increasing workers wages, availability of standard credit facility at minimum interest rates.

“Supportive interventions in agriculture for food security, affordable and quality healthcare and education to improve living standards, increase spending on infrastructures (Built Environment and ICT with others).

“There are available innovative ideas that can make lives of majority of Nigerians worthwhile and liveable, but we have to be ready, less greedy, be accountable, be our brothers’ keepers, leadership with great deal of empathy and unconditional love,” he said.

He charged the government to ensure that Nigerians have access to affordable and quality healthcare and education to improve their standard of living.

Mr Babarinde, who is the General Secretary of APC Committee of Diaspora Chairmen, urged the government to tackle corruption to prevent hindrances to growth and development.

“The cancer in our society which is corruption need urgent antidote for us to join the league of civilised world.

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“The type of corruption in our country is wickedly primitive and should be dealt with headlong as it continues to be an hindrance to our growth and development,” he said.

Mr Babarinde called for the immediate review of salaries of civil servants, following the current economic hardship occasioned by the subsidy removal, to ensure their efficient and effective performance.

According to the former APC diaspora chairman, some Nigerians are being paid “slavery wages,” why some public officials are getting “undeserved bogus salaries.”

“There are interventions that can mitigate against this, you get paid for what you worked for and deserve. This should not be limited to ordinary workers but also to top government employees and National assembly members.

“There are available innovative ideas that can make lives of majority of Nigerians worthwhile and liveable; but we have to be ready, less greedy, be accountable, be our brothers’ keepers and leadership with great deal of empathy and unconditional love,” he said.

Mr Babarinde, however, blamed the previous administration for removing the fuel subsidy “by law” but refused to put in place “established palliative measures” to cushion the effects on Nigerians.

“We are aware that petrol subsidy was not removed by President Bola Tinubu, he only pronounced what had been removed by law over a year ago by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Yes, it was the right thing to do, but the immediate past government never helped the current administration with ideas of palliatives to deploy.

“If there had been well established palliative measures in place by those who planned the subsidy removal, the readjustment would had been easier and smoother for Nigerians”, he said.
NAN

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