Labour LP presidential candidate Mr Peter Obi has called the current fuel subsidy system a fraud and said he would offer an alternative if elected.
< p class ="align-left">Yesterday during a live interview on Arise TV, the presidential candidate said that the gasoline subsidies are not beneficial for the country’s economy and promised that he would not waste $40 billion on subsidies like he is currently doing All done by the Congress of Progressives, APC-led federal government.
Gasoline subsidy payments swallowed up N1.27 trillion in the last five months, about 31 percent of the N4 trillion that were provided for the year. It hurt oil revenues as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, Limited failed to transfer proceeds to the Association’s account.
“We have spent over $40 billion on subsidies. Our total education spending over the last 10 years is about N8 trillion (about $20 billion at $400/$1). That’s 50 percent of that,” Obi said.
“If we spent $20 billion on electricity, we would generate and distribute 20,000 megawatts of electricity today.
< p class="align-left">“It means that subsidies alone would have solved many problems in our education, health and power. When we have 20,000 MW, we will grow by more than 4% and add over $100 billion to our GDP.
“During the same period, we have $90 billion “Borrowed dollars that we oversee. With that you could see total mismanagement of resources that could have transformed the entire North…this huge country would have been huge farmland,” he said
Whether or not he would cut subsidies, Obi said, “We need to study this and look at it critically. Yes and no, because I would remove it, but I have to offer them what matches what we’re removing.
“Yes, I will use the resources to do something that would be useful, but if I don’t I will not remove it. You must be able to come up with something to replace offer what you will do.
“I can’t spend $40 billion on subsidies, and I can’t even spend $50 Percent of it spent on education and health security. Are you saying that [gas] subsidies are more important than safety of life and property?
“I said subsidies are a scam and I will keep saying. There are so many scams everywhere, including administrative costs.”