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– Directs Vice-President and National Economic Council to Work on Palliatives 


The Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) on Wednesday in Abuja pledged its support for the Federal Government’s removal of fuel subsidy.


The association’s chairperson, Dame Winifred Akpani, made the disclosure at the end of a meeting with President Bola Tinubu.


“Removal of subsidy is not about making fuel costly and taking it out of the reach of Nigerians. It is about getting it right on the real issue of petroleum product subsidy.


“Who are those enjoying the subsidy? The subsidy ends up being enjoyed by those it was not meant for.


“We also spoke to the president about substitutes to petrol as well as creating an environment conducive for investments to thrive in the oil sector,’’ she said.


Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, who led the DAPPMAN delegation, described the subsidy removal as a bold step that portended positive growth for the economy


He said fuel subsidy withdrawal was a clear indication of Tinubu’s readiness to address the challenges of the oil and gas sector.


“Subsidy has become a N4 trillion per annum issue and its removal will release more funds for economic development.


“Subsidy removal will unleash the potential of Nigeria because it will open up a lot of resources for the development of other sectors of the economy.


“The National Economic Council will soon begin sitting to propose interventions on the subsidy removal.


“The interventions will definitely be a long-lasting solution to the effect of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians,’’ Abiodun said.


Also, State Governors on Wednesday expressed strong support for President Bola Tinubu’s decision to end fuel subsidy payments in the country and other early policy initiatives of the administration.

The governors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, expressed their support to President Tinubu during the first meeting the President was having with them at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.


The state chief executives, who took turns to speak at the meeting were led by the NGF Chairman and governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who expressed happiness with the President’s subsidy-removal decision, all-inclusive leadership and statesmanship.

President Tinubu had earlier called on the governors to collaborate with the Federal Government in tackling the menace of poverty in the country, saying the level of impoverishment was unacceptable.


The President advised the political leaders to downplay their differences and jointly focus on alleviating the sufferings and pains of the people.


“We can see the effects of poverty on the faces of our people. Poverty is not hereditary, it is from the society. Our position is to eliminate poverty. Set aside partisan politics, we are here to deliberate about Nigeria and nation-building,’’ he said.


President Tinubu stated that the nation should be seen as one big family.


“We are a family occupying one house, and sleeping in different rooms. If we see it that way and push forward, we will get our people out of poverty. A determined mind is a fertile ground for delivering on results,’’ he added.

The President said good governance would safeguard the future of democracy.


“Present in this room is our diversity in culture and politics, but we are one nation. The unity and stability of the country rest upon us.


“We are in a democracy and we have to nurture the democracy. It is a hard-earned system and not easy to manage. If anyone thinks it is easy, look at other nations that are over a hundred years in democracy.


“We have managed ourselves very well to have a democracy. We have campaigned and arrived at our present destination. We must work for our people,’’ President Tinubu told the governors while assuring them that he would maintain an open-door policy.


The President said he was prepared to share ideas, strengthen institutions, and create bottom-up frameworks that will improve the livelihood of Nigerians.

“What do we do in the face of crushing poverty? What do we do with our development goals? We took the bull by the horns by removing the elephant in the room before the nation sinks.


“We need synergy to fight other vices like corruption. We are trying to get smugglers out of the way. How do we work together to galvanize the economy, and put resources in place? We must think and perform.


“After removing subsidy, there must be savings accruing to the Federation Account,’’ he noted.


President Tinubu said the education sector must be improved as part of efforts to reduce poverty and penury:


“How do we address the unacceptable level of poverty? How much are we investing in education, which is the only tool against poverty? I am ready to collaborate with you.’’


The President also drew attention to the security problems in some states, admonishing the governors that all efforts should be put in place to tackle the security situation, without thinking it’s only for those facing it.


The Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRasaq, thanked the President for the invitation to deliberate on the challenges of poverty and security, promising that the governors would support the Federal Government in meeting the targets of human development.


“The NGF will follow the tradition of working constitutionally and harmoniously with you,’’ he said.


The meeting, which was attended by Vice President Kashim Shettima and new Secretary to the Government of the Federation George Akume, had 22 governors and two deputy governors from Edo and Niger States, in attendance.


The governors made suggestions highlighting the plight of citizens in their states, assuring the President of their support in proffering solutions through the National Economic Council.


President Bola Tinubu also directed the National Economic Council, NEC, led by Vice President Kashim Shettima to begin the process of working on interventions to ameliorate the impact of subsidy removal on the people.


This is because the major oil marketers have donated 100 mass transit buses worth N10 billion to the federal government to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.


Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, stated this after leading some major oil marketers on a courtesy call on President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Briefing State House correspondents after the courtesy call, the governor said the marketers were in the presidential villa to express solidarity with the president for his bold decision to end subsidy payment.


He noted that Tinubu’s action showed his determination and courage to remove the haemorrhage that had bedevilled the country for decades.


He said the country was spending about N4 trillion annually on subsidies, which henceforth should be taken to the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC for sharing among three tiers of government.


The governor said that while there would be some discomfort on the part of the people, the move would eventually pay off as there can be no gains without pain.


He stressed that any actions taken, such as an increase in the minimum wage, transportation allowances, or intervention programmes, will only serve as temporary solutions. He added that the real solution lies in transitioning to clean energy for the entire country.


According to him, Diesel and petrol-powered vehicles are no longer feasible, adding that Nigeria should follow the example of other countries, such as Egypt, where mass transit runs on compressed natural gas (CNG), and some vehicles run on electricity.


“These will be what will be sustainable that will allow us to transport people, goods and services at prices that are reasonable. That is the kind of thing that we are looking at, the kind of discussions that we’re having with Mr President and the kind of approach that this administration looking at in terms of sustainability.”


The Chairperson, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMAN, and the

Managing Director of Northwest Petroleum & Gas Company Limited, Dame Winifred Akpani, said the courtesy visit was to express the major oil marketers’ utmost support to the federal government.


She said that they were aware of the difficulties the subsidy removal has created in the country, expressing optimism that it was going to reposition the country.


She noted that Nigeria in the first three months of 2023 has spent over N2 trillion, adding that if it continued with the payment, by the end of the year, it may spend about N7 trillion.


Mrs Akpani said through subsidy, Nigeria has been feeding her neighbouring countries, adding that it can no longer subsidise fuel for African countries while its economy continues to bleed.

The marketers announced their intention to donate 50 to 100 mass transit buses as a way to help the success of the initiative, hoping that other well-meaning corporate bodies can do the same.

She said, “That is born out of the fact that we have desired, we have prayed for this day to come. And we’re happy that the day is finally here.”

While noting that the removal of subsidy is not about making transportation more expensive, Akpani noted that it was to reposition the country.

On the donation of the mass transit buses, she said: “And we all collectively agreed that we’re going to work at providing real mass transit buses that work, the ones that run on CNG, which is a compressed natural gas and diesel interchangeably, and hopefully we’re going to start with about 50 to 100. And that is in the very, very short term and these are locally produced.


“So, you see that we’re also providing jobs, a lot more jobs because we’re using local assembling plants, we are not importing this. That is less pressure on our foreign exchange, and that’s more jobs for Nigerians.


“Mr President was very happy with that. And we’re really relieved and we thank the President because he has a perfect understanding of a lot of the issues. I guess we’re not surprised but we were almost amazed to use that word.


“He asked all the right questions and he pointed to who could solve this problem and that problem. So like I said, we’re really, really grateful that we’ve had this interaction, and we’ll take it from there. And hopefully, everybody here and Nigerians at large will begin to see that even if this sounded very difficult, it’s a very, very good move, and very courageous.


“We’ve been trying to do this for so many years. No president has had the courage to do this. But now we’ll have to face it and as we said, support is what is required now to sit this through.”




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