Dr Paul Okorie, chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi state said that President Muhammadu Buhari deserved commendation for mustering the political will to remove subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol.
Okorie, former commissioner for Works, Housing and Transportation stated this on Monday in Abakaliki in an interview with our correspondent.
Okorie who was reacting to the FG’s decision to end the subsidy regime on petrol by June of 2023 described the decision as a ‘welcome development.’
He said: “For me, it is a good development. Good development in the sense that there has been so much controversy surrounding this issue of subsidy in which the amount of petrol being consumed and being contested as well as the amount being paid are mired in controversy.
” But, all this can be put to rest once the issue of subsidy is jettisoned.”
The Ebonyi former commissioner further described the move as a vibrant economic policy that would help steer the economy back to greatness insisting that the trillions of naira spent by the government on payment of subsidy would be injected into the economy.
But, he, however, urged the FG and the handlers of the nation’s economy to put adequate measures in place that would cushion the adverse effect of the subsidy removal, especially on the average Nigerians.
Okorie said that petrol product was essential for the day-to-day running of the economy stressing that the bulk of the population of the country depended on petrol for their everyday social and economic activities.
“Petrol is the commonest of all the petroleum products and people depend on it for both industrial and domestic usages; you need fuel for transportation; to power the generator for both domestic and industrial use.
” The effect of subsidy withdrawal will be felt so badly by the people if adequate preparation is not made before it’s finally implemented,” he said.
Okorie who also was a former commissioner for Environment called on the federal government to ensure that the three major refineries in Portharcourt, Warri and Kaduna were made to operate at optimum capacity.
He also urged the FG to grant operating licences to the operators of modular refineries so that the country could end fuel importation.
The former commissioner who was a governorship aspirant on the platform of APC in 2019 maintained that the high cost of petrol product in Nigeria was due to the dependence on the importation of the product stressing that the problem would be addressed once the nation’s refineries began to function at full capacity.
“The dollar continues to appreciate against our local currency, the naira, because we are depending so largely on importation of the fuel that we consume in the country,” he added.
He advised the FG to ensure that the trillions of naira that would be saved from the subsidy removal from petrol were ploughed back into the critical areas of the economy including; road, health and education sectors.