Oluchi Chibuzor and Ezekiel Okpuzor
The Peter Bauer Foundation has organised a debate for university students on fuel subsidy, showing how the country can diversify the funds into social intervention projects and infrastructure towards alleviating poverty and stimulating economic opportunities for Nigerians.
Speaking at the event in Lagos with the theme ‘Reinvesting Nigeria’s Fuel Subsidy: Pro-poor Growth versus Social Protection Programmes’, the Secretary of the foundation, Abimbola Agboluaje said the discourse was aimed at promoting policy that would trigger national development.
He said the debate provided the contestants the opportunity to get internship with some organisations and job placements, especially for those who displayed brilliance at the issues, adding that the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Investment (LCCI) has offered employment to the overall best student.
“The debate provided the students a platform to proffer solutions to the topic on how the government can utilise the funds meant for fuel subsidy for the development of the nation, as the issue is over flooded. Several areas of the economy are suffering because of lack of massive investment needed to stimulate the growth required.”
The University of Lagos emerged winner of the debate, which focused on the need to remove the fuel subsidy or keep it; while Lasisi Ibrahim emerged the overall best student and got employed by LCCI; while other contestants got books and internship opportunities.
In his remarks, the Director, Research and Advocacy, LCCI, Dr. Vincent Nwani said as a result of the irregularities surrounding the subsidy, the country has discouraged a lot of investors from coming to do business in the petroleum sector.
He added that with the quality displayed by the students, the country’s future is bright despite the current challenges.
“A lot of money has been spent on fuel subsidy over N1 trillion, over 50 per cent to money allotted to capital project. It discourages investors in oil and gas industry, about $100 billion that should have come into the country in the last five years as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are discourage because the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is not available.”