Why fuel subsidy is a scam –LP Rep, Etanabene

The Labour Party, LP, House of Representatives member, representing Okpe, Sapele, Uvwie Federal Constituency of Delta State, Benedict Etanabene, has insisted that the issue of subsidy in Nigeria was a scam.

Etanabene was the branch chairman of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, before going to the green chamber.

Speaking in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, he noted that fuel subsidy was a scam because from the beginning, Nigerians did not know the quantity of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, imported into the country.

He added that recent statistics from NNPCL shows that the local consumption of PMS was 13 million bpd as against 168 million bpd that Nigerians were told.

He said: “The whole idea of subsidy is a scam. With no apologies, I don’t believe there was a subsidy in the first place, which has been my position since 2001, when I was PENGASSAN branch chairman.

“When former President Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to remove fuel subsidy in 2001, my argument then was that we should first investigate if there was subsidy at all.

 

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“I said if it was discovered that there was no subsidy, labour should not agree for an increment in pump price. But if there was subsidy, let’s not argue with government and allow them to sell it at whatever price they wanted.

“At that time, Obasanjo wanted to increase the pump price to about N168 per liter. If that was done then, we would have ended the matter of subsidy.

“But they continued to sustain that story of subsidy till this point because it was benefiting some persons,” Etanabene said.

Civil servants living wage recommendation discriminatory to other Nigerians

On recommendations from the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission to pay N702billion as cost of living allowance to civil servants as part of palliative for subsidy removal, Etanabene, said that that action would be discriminatory because civil servants constitute a small percentage of Nigeria’s population.

“The issue of increment of workers salaries or allowance should not be seen as subsidy palliative because ordinarily the workers deserved salary increment. It should not have anything to do with subsidy palliative because workers in government sector are very few.

“What will now happen to those who are not civil servants since the subsidy removal affects everybody. Such action will violate the constitution that preaches lack of discrimination,” Etanabene said.

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