The Moment (London)
6 January 2012
THE Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Tunde Lemo, has said that the bulk of the money Nigeria uses in subsidising fuel is borrowed.
‘Government borrows money to subsidise fuel. So, year after year we are piling up debts for the next generation, and this is not sustainable. If we don’t remove the subsidy today, we are overburdening the generation coming,’ he stressed.
He disclosed that as at December 31, 2011 the Federal Government spent about N1.4 trillion on fuel subsidy.
Lemo who was speaking at his 52nd birthday party which was held recently in Lagos, before the January 1 increase in pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as fuel, called for understanding about the dynamics behind the policy.
He said the bulk of the money being subsidised is not even going to the common man, but rather it is the rich man that is enjoying more.
‘The rich man goes in a convoy of two cars; each of the children goes with two or three cars, while the wife goes in another direction, each of them burning fuel on at least six cars. But the poor man on the street is just one out of 24 people in a bus.’
He maintained that if we save this money on subsidy and use it to develop our social amenities, the poor man would benefit more than the rich man.
‘The rich man has his children abroad, but if we use that money to build schools, develop our hospitals, buy drugs, and maintain our roads, which the poor man needs, it would be in our best interest.’ According to him, ‘the poor man is short-changing himself if he insists that the subsidy should continue.’
He went further to disclose that subsidy as is operated in the country is like providing air conditioner in a football field. ‘Today, it is assumed that we consume about 43 million litres of petrol per day. This is not true.
More than 50% of the fuel that is brought into this country disappears into the neighbouring country because even in Ghana fuel sales for N140.00. So who are we deceiving?’ He queried.
He said this nonsense of playing big brother Africa, subsidising the rest of Africa should stop so that we can save money to develop Nigeria.
Equally disheartening is the issue of corruption, which he noted, has been the bane of the decay in the system.
He, therefore, called on Christians to pray. ‘We must be prayerful, the time we are in now calls for special prayers, so that we can all live in peace and harmony. Whether we are Christians or Muslims, we must first realise that we are all Nigerians and we must love one another.’
He added that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, so we must cry unto Him and pray against Boko Haram and all social vices, so that He can bring peace back to Nigeria.
Lemo used the occasion to thank God for the gift of life. He acknowledged that it is the Lord who keeps, not by our power or might. ‘He has kept us these fifty years, so He deserves our praises,’ he added.
He advised the youths to be hard working, patriotic, patient, dogged, and consistent in their endeavours. He said with all these virtues they will get to their respective destinations.
But lamented that these virtues are very scarce today as people are in a hurry, cutting corners to get rich quick. He noted that such attitude is detrimental to personal interest and the country at large.
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