Backs hike in fuel price, electricity tariffs
By Deji Elumoye
A member of the National Assembly, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, has expressed his opposition to the re-introduction of the National Water Resources Bill in the federal parliament.
Yusuf, who spoke at the weekend in Abuja, however supported the recent hike in the pump price of petrol as well as the increase in electricity tariffs.
The ranking Senator while speaking on the Water Bill currently before the House of Representatives declared that he won’t support any bill that is against the overall interest of the citizenry.
His words: “I don’t believe I will stand and support anything that is not in the best interest of Nigerians.”
According to him, the contentious bill rejected by the Eighth Assembly is coming as a concurrence bill at the Senate, adding that “you know we have little difference in the way we do our bills.
“By the time it comes to the Senate, it will only come as a concurrence. The various relevant committees will sit down and look at areas that are contentious and then liaise with the House and sort them out.
On the recent hike in fuel price by the federal government, the Chairman of the Senate committee on Special Duties, submitted that the increase was long-anticipated with the current restructuring of the nation’s economy.
He said: “What has happened to the fuel price is long-anticipated. We all know that in an economy, we have the product side, the financial side and the labour side. We started this long ago but it is now the economy that is restructuring itself. We try to manipulate the restructuring of the economy over a period of time since the time of structural adjustment programme. One way or the other, we manipulate, we put a lot of sentiment into it. The real effect is now staring us on our face. So, what do we do? What is the reality on the ground?
“Government has no money to subsidise the pump price of the petroleum product. All is because of the value of the Naira. The dollar price of our imported products has not changed much. What has changed much is the value of the Naira vis-a-vis the dollar. “Until we get the realistic value of our currency, we may not be able to sort out this problem. We must also change our attitudes. Every Nigerian has to accept the fact that things change much for the better.”
Commenting on the increase in electricity tariffs, the Senator described the hike as challenging, adding however that the increase must take place one day.
“It is a challenging period we are facing. Electricity is a product that must be sold at a realistic price. If we continue to put a price that is not realistic vis-a-vis the value of our currency, thinking that at the value of our currency, it is over-valued, and therefore we continue to adjust.
“For me, it is a challenging period. All of us must accept the fact that this change will come one day. “Officially, we will sit down and look at it probably differently but in my personal opinion, this change has come, and we must accept the fact that it has come”.
The APC senator also advised the political gladiators in the forthcoming governorship poll in Edo State to play according to the rules and embrace peace.
“There is always heat as the election date draws nearer. It is normal. But politicians should not be desperate to win at all cost. Let the people decide, don’t force them to do what they don’t want to do. “The political gladiators of Edo must understand that bloodletting is not going to solve the problem. Let the people choose who will be their governor come 19th of this month,” Yusuf said.