…Discomforts On Citizens
The Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria, (CIOTA) has urged Federal Government to introduce policies that will ease pains on citizens as a result of subsidy removal.
The institute said this will include removal of any form of taxation, Value Added Tax (VAT) and import duties on anything that has to do with energy.
This was stated at the virtual round table discussion organized by the institute with the theme: ‘On Effective and Defective Palliative Delivery Strategies held on Thursday.
Welcoming participants to the conference, the President of CIOTA, Prince Segun Obayendo said the discussion is the second edition in which the institute decided to discuss the effects of subsidy removal on the citizens.
According him, there was the need to proffer solutions targeted at resolving the issues caused by the subsidy removal most especially high cost of living.
Presenting a paper entitled: Getting IT Right: Effective and Sustainable Palliatives, Professor of Transport and Logistics, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos and Chairman, Road Committee Sub-Committee, CIoTA, Prof. Samuel Odewumi said CIOTA is the only nationally licensed association on Transportation administration and have observed that most discussions on the fall out of fuel subsidy removal described the problems and the pains and they are largely devoid of concrete suggestions.
“We also observed that palliatives are being rushed to the states, with lots of these very ineffective and as an association of professionals and academics, we owe it a duty to put solutions on the table for the politicians.
According to him, there is no doubt that removal of fuel subsidy is inevitable and delaying it till now has made it more excruciatingly painful, we ought to have taken the bitter pill in 2012 and any delay beyond this point would require an invasive surgery, he said.
“Indeed we could not even continue if we wanted to, because, we have to borrow to continue the bazaar and nobody is willing to lend us money for such economic debauchery anymore,” he added.
Prof. Odewumi said that with the removal of subsidy and forex reform, fuel price tripled, transportation cost went up; prices of goods and services went up; suffering descended on the land; and therefore, the cries for PALLIATIVE rent the air.
He explained that the promised palliatives are not sustainable, not equitable: only available for city dwellers and those in selected routes, kill the private sector service provider and multiply their poverty and there is opportunity cost for misdirected expenditure that would have generally improved the situation.
The expert however explained that for effective and sustainable palliative, the government and all concerned must give it all it takes to ensure that there is security of lives and property in the land, significant increase in crude oil production to shore up revenue in order to strengthen our naira, the oil thieves must be exposed and punished to stop the larceny going on in the Niger Delta, we can subsidize production of fertilizers for farmers, subsidized crude oil for local refineries, tax relieve for manufacturers and we must not continue to subsidize consumption food.
He explained that: “We must challenge the state and local governments: to be more creative and address their local challenges; stop depending on federal governments for ideas and fund, mobilise our media to make the states and LGA more responsible in the palliative deliveries.”
Odewumi also advised that all Governments must ensure effective communication with the citizens; sincere and robust engagement with labour; avert any strike calls that will worsen the situation and tip the rest economy further downhill; full disclosure on the state of economy to Nigerians and engage the media, convince them and obtain them buy-in. “People can endure when they know there is light at the end of the dark tunnel that they are passing through.”
Dr. Muda Yusuf, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), who spoke on the topic: Effective Delivery of Economy Palliatives stated that management of the reform must be inclusive and impactful for the citizens of the country to enjoy it.
According to him, the concept of subsidy is a reality the country needs but if care is not taking it may be abused, leads to corruption or making some set of people billionaires.
Yusuf who is the immediate past Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) called for policies that will reduce the burden on citizens.
“I will urge the government to remove any form of taxation, VAT, import duties from anything that has to do with energy for now because we are going through a lot because of the recent reform.”
He added that the reform had increased government’s revenue and therefore it must be used for the people and this include removing all taxes and levies; stimulate private investment, reduce the cost of solar panels and scraping import duties on agricultural imports.
Professor Callistus Ibe, Professor of Transport Management, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo state said for a productive distribution of palliatives, it must be deliberate; focused, persistent, patriotic and must have sustainable government policies.
“A productive way of distributing palliative should witness deliberate efforts aimed at reducing cost of living, increasing disposable income and creating value through mass transits in all roads, railways and Inland water ways.
He also said that a more effective and productive way of reducing the sufferings of the people is to reduce the cost of transportation through mass transportation and alternative energy sources.
This productive approach according to him will create jobs, open up employment and income will be earned; “this single approach will have positive multiplier effects and it will be focused, persistent, patriotic and sustainable.”
Over 90 participants attended the programme