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Kpakol Knocks N8,000 Transfers, Proposes ‘Slightly Subsidised’ Fuel For Commercial Vehicles

The six-month palliative plan was contained in a letter President Bola Tinubu wrote to the House of Representatives seeking the approval of an $800 million World Bank loan request by former President Muhammadu Buhari for a social safety net programme.


A photo combination of Prof Magnus Kpakol and an attendant holding a fuel pump nozzle to a vehicle’s fuel tank

 

Prof Magnus Kpakol on Friday was critical of the Federal Government’s proposal to transfer N8,000 to 12 million poor households in the country, as part of its efforts to mitigate the economic pains brought on by the removal of fuel subsidy.

The six-month palliative plan was contained in a letter President Bola Tinubu wrote to the House of Representatives seeking the approval of an $800 million World Bank loan request by former President Muhammadu Buhari for a social safety net programme.

This came barely a month after President Bola Tinubu declared in his inaugural speech that “fuel subsidy is gone” which was soon followed by assurances to millions of Nigerians.

Analysing the policy on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Kpakol echoed a popular opinion that the subsidy removal should have been implemented in phases, allowing Nigerians to adjust.

The Chief Economic Adviser in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration explained that the problem people have now is one of adjustment.

“I can see the aversion to any kind of fuel subsidy, but I’m not so sure that, in the first palace, we should have taken the whole thing away completely. But what I would have suggested is that you use computers, electronics, machines,” he said.

“There are ways that you can have devices at the gas stations and commercial vehicles, taxis and those in commercial transportation, would be able to get fuel at a slightly, not completely, subsidised method.

“They’re now using a completely subsidised method. But they could have tried to subsidise those using commercial vehicles.”

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Kpakol, who is also the Executive Chairman of the Economic Growth and Development Centre, acknowledged the Tinubu administration for “trying” to end the subsidy regime, but highlighted the uphill battle.

“We have conditions where you can address switching issues (or) changing issues. So, the people cannot switch — our society, we are not in the position to be able to switch that easily from the dependency that we’ve had, especially for the poor,” he said.

Citing what he described as a transmission problem, the economic strategist pointed out that there were people transporting foodstuffs from the rural areas burdened by banditry, insecurity, and high prices.

“You see where the food inflation is; it’s extremely high for our people — general inflation is already extremely high,” he said.

“So, we don’t want to compound things by making transportation costs even steeper. I would have tried to address transportation costs.”