Fuel Subsidy Removal: Foundation Tasks FG on Comprehensive Review of Existing Palliative Measures to Address Inefficiencies

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin 

As Nigerians continue to grapple with the biting effects of fuel subsidy removal, a non-profit organisation known as the Rising Child Foundation (RCF), yesterday called on the federal government to conduct a comprehensive review of existing palliative measures to address their inefficiencies and ensure transparency in disbursement mechanisms.

The organisation equally recommended to the government, supplementary interventions that could be implemented to mitigate the impacts of the subsidy removal on Nigerians.

The Executive Director of RCF, Mrs. Taibat Hussein, made the call in Ilorin, Kwara State’s capital, during a press conference to highlight the recommendations on the organisation’s research report on the impact of fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria.

Hussein disclosed that the research, which was conducted in partnership with the Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI), sought to “assess the impact of fuel subsidy removal and, more importantly, to develop data-driven practical interventions to mitigate its impact on Nigerians.”

 The research, according to her, was funded by LEAP Africa and the Nigeria Youths Future Fund (NYFF).

Hussein, who was represented at the event by the organisation’s Research Intern, Ms. Ruth Adeosun, said that while President Tinubu’s decision to stop fuel subsidy payment was essential for long-term fiscal stability and sustainable economic growth, it has triggered hardship and pains for Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable segment of the society.

She noted that her organisation’s research findings showed that majority of Nigerians are finding it difficult to cope with the negative effects of the subsidy removal, ranging from rising cost of living, increased transportation costs and surge in the prices of essential commodities, stressing that the situation could lead to increased poverty levels in the country, if not properly addressed.

To mitigate the impacts of the subsidy removal on the masses, the RCF recommended that the federal government should explore innovative and cost-effective transportation solutions, prioritise job creation for the teeming unemployed youth, and establish a support system for small and medium scale businesses, offering low-interest loans, subsidies, or tax breaks to help them adapt to the new economic environment.

She equally advised the government to invest in alternative energy sources to reduce Nigerians’ dependence on generators that require fuel to power.

Hussein said: “It is crucial for the government to explore innovative and cost-effective transportation solutions that can alleviate the burden on the population. This should include initiatives such as funding for ride-sharing programs and transport vouchers.

“Furthermore, the government should consider providing specific incentives or subsidies for public transport operators to maintain fare stability and minimise the impact on daily commuters, as well as promoting alternative modes of transportation that do not rely on fuel and increasing targeted investments in transportation infrastructure.

“The loss of jobs due to the increase in operating costs for businesses is another major effect of the fuel subsidy removal. Our findings show that the adverse effects of the discontinuation of fuel subsidies are being worsened by Nigeria’s increasing unemployment rate. The government has to create jobs and develop an economic ecosystem where talents and skills are met with the right opportunities.”

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