Subsidy How Nigeria Collapsed Under Tinubu - Babachir Lawal

Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal, has asserted that the announcement of fuel subsidy removal by President Bola Tinubu on the day of his inauguration on May 29, 2023, was what culminated to the collapse of Nigeria.

This is just as he said: the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles will not work in Nigeria unless the federal government provides the framework for its functionality.

Lawal said the shocking announcement plunged the country into economic malady, noting that the policy was launched before the cabinet was assembled.

The former SGF said this while discussing the state of the nation on an online television.

According to him, the announcement of the elimination of gasoline subsidies increased the cost of transportation, which is the primary source of income for both the rich and the poor in Nigeria.

Describing the action taken on May 29, Lawal said the non-existence of the cabinet and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to address the consequences of such a harsh policy was the undoing of Tinubu’s administration, leading to a total collapse of the country.

I can only repeat what I said before. I’ve spoken about this before. First of all, I did say one time you came into government on the day you were inaugurated,” he said.

Read Also: Stop Electricity Subsidy Now, IMF Urges Tinubu’s Govt

“After swearing in you embark on the first major policies that are very impactful on the lives of the society. It is like a cowboy, or macho man removing subsidies. At that time, he didn’t have a minister of planning, who should plan the outcome, and the consequences to take care.

“You don’t have a minister of finance who will calculate the impact of this society. You did not even have the federal executive council that will approve that, you have nothing. As at that time, nobody to advise you, nobody to break out ‘what ifs”.

Speaking further, he said, “So immediately after that inauguration, Nigeria collapsed. It is like a balloon. Nigeria fell down. It deflated completely. Immediately transportation (fare) tripled,” he insisted.

“That week! I used to buy animal feed for my cows from Zaria, I used to pay N270,000 per truck. Immediately that week, I couldn’t buy anymore, because transportation alone was going to cost me N1 million,” he explained, citing his personal experience as a farmer.

“I couldn’t afford it because the cost of fuel just jumped up. Everything. Last week I bought some equipment for my farm. I wanted to transport it from Kano, they were asking me to pay N3 million to transport three tractors and only to be put in a trailer. One trailer carrying three tractors! Everything has gone up. So that policy alone crashed everything.”

Meanwhile, Lawal has said that the use of CNG vehicles will not work in Nigeria except the federal government provides the framework for its functionality.

He said the government needs to put in place the necessary infrastructure that will lubricate the effectiveness of the CNG vehicles, or else it will be catastrophic.

Recall that President Tinubu had directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to start converting all petrol or diesel-powered vehicles or generators to CNG.

The president gave the new directive “in line with his commitment to ensure energy security, drive utility, and cut high fuel costs,” according to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale.

The government also stated that the CNG-powered buses would be displayed to the public on May 29, 2024, when the current administration will complete one year.

But the former SGF said it is not sustainable, alleging that it is a means for the governors and other government officials to mismanage the nation’s resources.

He also said there have to be gas stations everywhere in the country on the highway so that one can go there to refill whenever the vehicles run out of gas.

Africa Today News, New York

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