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Gov Abiodun Meets With Obasanjo, Says Nigeria Lost N4trn Annually On Subsidy

Part of the palliatives included approval of the payment of N10,000 cash for each public servants and pensioner in the state.


A photo combination of Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.

 

The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Tuesday, met with former President Olusegun Obasanjo behind closed doors in Abeokuta, after which he disclosed that Nigeria had been losing N4 trillion to fuel subsidy.

The governor arrived at the former president’s private residence located on the premises of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library at 11.58 am and went straight into a private meeting with him.

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Emerging from the meeting which lasted about an hour, Abiodun declined to reveal details of the meeting to journalists.

“It is a private meeting. A son does not have to have any reason to come and see his father, so I have come to see our baba and it is a private meeting,” he said.

Speaking on the recent removal of fuel subsidy, Abiodun lamented that Nigeria was losing N4 trillion annually to the subsidy regime, insisting that there was no better time to end the longstanding policy.

The governor assured Nigerians that the government would put the funds to better use to revamp the country’s economy.

“We all know that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration started with a bang. On the 29th of May, he reeled out a few initiatives, one of the most laudable of those initiatives was his decision to remove subsidies on petroleum products.

“As controversial as that initiative has been, no one can deny the fact that it was a very welcome initiative. That was a subsidy that Nigeria could no longer afford, it was a subsidy that was not in the budget beyond June 2023.

“More importantly, it was costing Nigeria about N4 trillion per annum; N4 trillion that Nigeria did not have, that we have had to borrow, that could be better expended to other uses that the common man can feel, so it was a very right decision.

“Of course, it was a decision that also came with a bit of pain, but as they say, there is no gain without some pain,” Abiodun said.

He urged Nigerians to endure the hardship of increasing fuel prices, saying the benefits of the subsidy removal outweighed the pain.

The governor said his administration had rolled out a series of palliatives for civil servants, pensioners and the people of the state to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.

Part of the palliatives included approval of the payment of N10,000 cash for each public servant and pensioner in the state.

The state government also approved the payment of a hazard allowance for all health and medical personnel in the state, adding that the implementation of the palliative would take effect in July.

Speaking on the palliatives, Abiodun said, “What you saw us announce for implementation in Ogun State yesterday (Monday) is part of the initiatives that the Federal Government has designed for implementation at the various state levels.

“What we have just done is to immediately begin that implementation because as soon as the President announced deregulation, we had sat down with members of our labour unions – TUC, NLC and the JNC — to discuss the different options that would be acceptable to all of us. So, that allowed us to be able to fast-track our own policies.

“We believe that these initiatives should immediately ameliorate the pain our people are feeling and I’m sure that you will see that other state governments are doing the same.”