Adedeji O.Kilanko


16th August,2023

If Fela Kuti were to be around today, how would he have spelt subsidy-Sub-Si-Dy going by his popular spelling dictionary. Is it Son-shady-deal or Son-shitty-deal or Son-dirty-deal?

Some marketers are rejoicing that the NNPCL’s monopoly on importation of fuel is over.

But, the NNPCL in the last 7 years through DSDP has been claiming paying 500 billion monthly as subsidy to marketers on the side in a direct swap policy that leaves no room or gap for such a payment.

When pressed for names of marketers paid, as usual it all comes to endless stories, so far, as for subsidy, it’s all shitty, shady and dirty deals.
This is just a preamble, though!

Hypocrisy, sycophancy and lack of sense of discernment are some of the words or phrase that could best describe the reaction of Nigerians to government decisions or policy changes in our clime.

One could through sense of taste reject the unpalatable dose of medicine forced down our throats in defense of subsidy removal fallout in the country.

One thing I have learned through observation about Nigerians and some of its elites is when it comes to their attention span towards government’s actions and agenda, it has always been a short one.

There is always a formula that works and that is when a leader comes with a plan, an idea or policy, once the agenda is linked, tied or woven to corruption and intent to fight corruption, proven or unproven.

Whether through hook or crook, it will sail through with many of our people believing in the concept hook, line and sinker including the elites.

How do you explain one just coming to power and in the very first minutes into the handover proclaiming outright end to a regime, subsidy regime?

A concept very difficult to define and defend on the part of the government and therefore difficult to comprehend for people as in Nigeria’s context.

This is arising from the fact that a lot around it is shrouded in secrecy and to operate in such darkness without caution and consideration for people being led says a lot about leadership in our country.

We are taking about a country with a very high unemployment rate and its attendant poverty and criminality rate. A country where criminality is metamorphosing and metastasizing by the day.

From kidnapping to banditry to ritual killings to terrorism and the list goes on.

It is quite inconceivable that with the above, a leader that is worth the name would come up with a move such as subsidy removal in such a careless and reckless manner.

I was shocked, though, with the reaction of Nigerians to the change in price of PMS from 530 to 617 Naira.

it was even louder than when it was increased from 185 to 530 Naira when people like us lost it, got very disturbed, confused expecting same from other Nigerians but it was like nothing happened.

The next thing you see are those whom you expect would know better dancing and clapping chanting “our messiah is here“ concerning a move that is about to endanger the life of the masses in the country.

There is this, SAN, Femi Falana’s list, item number seven on that menu should have been the easiest for SRP Tinubu to tackle, when he does that, then we can praise him to Mecca.

What is in the removal of subsidy to rejoice about?

Is it in the financial burden dumped on the voiceless poor masses of this nation?

Is it the inability, the lack of political will on the part of government to confront the monster itself, the corruption that permeates the subsidy regime?

Is it in the denial or the deprivation of the blessings and benefit of the natural endowment in form of soil subsidy (Black Gold) by the Supreme Being which comes with the supreme prices paid by the Ijaw people, the Ogonis, and the other minorities of the South on behalf of over 200 million poor masses of this country?

I think for the umpteenth time we should make a distinction between subsidy for the people and corruption in ‘subsidy’.

There’s nothing wrong with subsidy and there’s nothing like subsidy outliving its usefulness most especially in a corruption infested clime like ours.

It’s the corruption competing with real subsidy for the masses that should have been stamped out from the onset.

For a people whose soil was subsidized by the most High with Black Gold (Oil), it is absurd for anyone to think or suggest that enjoying the benefits of the soil subsidy is abhorrent or undeserving to his people based on some unsubstantiated claims structured around criminalizing SUBSIDY.

There we have a video of Sanusi Lamido prescribing suffering, hardship for the people as if suffering is Amala with Abula, as if it is Ekaeko soup or vanilla ice cream.

If this scenario is what Sanusi Lamido was painting in line with the approach being used by SRP Tinubu, then it calls to question whether for real, he is in tune with reality.

Nigerians are not supposed to suffer or be in this position or mess if common sense has prevailed from the outset.

In sane climes and from serious leaders removal of subsidy would require 6 months to two years and up to plan for plan depending on the situation on the ground.

Before you know it APC and Tinubu supporters would swarm around you singing “E go better ooo, E go better ooo”
See ee rii pawalokan, E go better ooo
Omo wa ni e jeeosee awalokan, Ego better oo.

When you are not doing the right thing or taking the right decisions how is it going to get better?

It is all a dream, unless the right moves are made.

In our own case leveraging on Dangote refinery, 6 months and up preparation should suffice in order not to suffocate the masses.

This is line with the belief that the long and short of this PMS crisis is in fact finding a way to refine our crude from within thereby eradicating the absurdity of importing part of the crude exported from our shores.

The reason we were overexcited when Dangote refinery was being commissioned in May thinking that it would be ready for operation by August as reported.

Not knowing all was a ploy to allow Buhari the opportunity to symbolically, cut the opening tape before leaving office. All of a sudden, we got the hint that importation would continue through February 2024 or thereabout.

Some are even speculating the refinery might not be ready until 2025.

The whole month of June 2023 in which ‘subsidy’ was still budgeted for should have been used to start planning and as a ladder to see through and far ahead of the problems and challenges on the way and proffer durable solutions.

For those claiming Buhari removed subsidy, does Tinubu not have the power to extend the subsidy regime beyond June to December 2023 coming in if he so wishes?

All of a sudden the cowboy spirit just descended on him and he went off script; one in which gradual phasing out of the subsidy regime was the grand plan.

Governance is all about positive impact an administration could make on its citizens not about desperation in seeking credit or breaking records just in about any circumstance.

Who is he trying to impress, the masses, the WB, IMF or the foreign investors?

The cowboy spirit came down upon him again in Paris, France at a recent summit in which he uttered the statement though not quoting him verbatim that ‘“you ignore Nigeria at your own loss”.

The investors are not moved by his statement, because, he is not speaking from the position of strength.

Investors will not come and invest in our economy out of pity, not until when all their boxes are checked.

Tinubu threw over 200 million Nigerians under the bus in order to impress the foreigners to come and invest with the foreign exchange and subsidy removal policies he embarked upon in his about two months in office.

This is against the backdrop of the fact that the World Bank and the IMF documents recommended that, palliative measures have to be adopted and implemented before the removal of subsidy.

Al-Bola Tinu-stein, in his own economic relativity theory, threw Nigerians under the bus with a speed of light because in his frame of reference the investors and their investments would stream in with the same speed (In his dream though).

Meanwhile, the WB, IMF and investors from their own frame of reference were shocked observing the level and speed at which Al-Bola Tinu-stein was operating and implementing the above policies.

This is because to them, they are not done with demands; there are still more conditions to be fulfilled such as raising the interest rate (Tinu-stein dare not touch that for now) fixing the energy and power infrastructures and so on in order to guarantee their attention.

All I can assure Mr Tinu-stein is that the investors and their investments would definitely file in at a speed in excess of the speed of light, so he should be on the lookout!

Which investor would invest in an economy on its knees, bleeding the way things are today with inflation rising by the day?

In all honesty, what some tout as Tinubunomics is nothing but Iro-nomics;
A situation where you ignore in its entirety, the economic participation of over 200 million Nigerian people on the demand side of your economy with focus, effort and energy geared toward the supply side of the market-the investors and their investments which contribute only 10 percent to our foreign exchange earnings behind our crude oil sales and diaspora remittances.

As observed in previous articles on this subsidy removal, a serious government should have prioritized negotiations with the organized labour primarily, and should have come out with something positive.

OBJ ran the best administration
when it comes to economy since 1999 simply because he applied common sense in his governance.

One of the first steps OBJ took when he came to power was his response to studies that showed the minimum wage then was below the cost of living, he went all the way to borrow and add to what was on the ground to increase the minimum wage of workers.

It was then, referred to as “Gbemu Baba”. Primary school teachers were able to save to buy cars then ‘Honda Hala’ as it was then, popularly known. OBJ was not stupid to have done that.

OBJ settled his home front before leaving for foreign trips to seek foreign investment.

He lubricated the moving parts of the economic engine which is the working class with the wage increase.

He wet the pockets of his working class with funds unconditionally making it possible for millions of Nigerians in the informal sector to participate and be part of the economy because those are the groups the workers go to in order to buy gari and pepper and so on.

When the GSM technology came there was money in circulation for all and sundry to participate, with only five thousand naira you could buy and sell recharge card and make some change on the side.

It was during OBJ tenure that a body adjudged Nigerians as the happiest people on earth. Now, if we have to compare OBJ and Tinubu’s policies, they are complete opposite.

Tinubu came and all of a sudden he dried up all the money in the pockets of Nigerians with the subsidy removal and other taxes and levies imposed such that blood and body fluid of people, are being drained with the forced walkathon going on in the country presently.

Workers in SRP Tinubu’s Ironomy cannot afford transport fare to get to their workplace, some have had to embark on kilometers of trekking to get to work and this is happening all over so what happens to productivity is this case?

Coming off an 8 years of economic policy disaster of Buhari government, one would have hoped Tinubu would give Nigerians some break but hell no, he imposed his harsh economic policy in his first minutes in power.

The other time his appointed tax chief came out talking about taxing the informal sector.

In an economy where the manufacturing sector and SME are been axed to pieces beyond recognition and out of existence by Tinubu’s policies, it remains to be seen what is left to be taxed by the Tax Officer.

During the honeymoon of a serious government, all you experience is romantic economic fore play with the masses and by extension the economy as in the case of OBJ who increased minimum wage paving way for solvency in the economy.

As for the present government it is more or less of a rape on the economy with the choking barrage of financial burden placed on the people starting with the subsidy removal as more and more people are being sent into poverty hell.

Who is going to tell SRP Tinubu that it is when you wet the floor ahead, you feel the comfort of its cool surroundings.

Sometimes it still feels like he thinks he is governing Lagos State (Lagos Mainland and Island). He better wakes up to feel the reality ahead!

The workers are still stuck with the #30k minimum wage with some states paying #18k and have been paying 530 Naira on fuel since May 29 2023.

Now the price has even gone up to 617 Naira and the chance is high it could climb higher as FOREX rate for dollar is 850 Naira, if not more, as we speak.

With the way the economy is being managed by this government, the likelihood of going into recession seems unavoidable because, it does not really show that the administration cares enough about what is happening around it.

I thought a serious government should have done a neat house cleaning of the NNPCL to pave way for some moves that are healthy to the economy.

Imagine SRP Tinubu coming in May 29 2023, giving Nigerians a heads up about the imminence of the removal of subsidy to Nigerians, then work with the National Assembly to extend the removal to about January 2024 through amendment to the budget.

Do not begin to doubt and grumble within yourself about all you hear about oh; there is no money, Central Bank is broke and that it has nothing in its vault. It is all stories!

It is all half-truths. There was a report by an agency in May about NNPCL holding 8 trillion naira that belongs to the Federation account as at the time SRP Tinubu was announcing subsidy removal.

Again, I am still reinforcing this, for a serious government, item number 7 on Femi Falana’s list should be the easiest starting point to explore in recouping government money in that country.

Assuming the FG pays ‘500 billion Naira’ every month on ‘subsidy’ as we are made to believe, what is wrong in a responsible government; one with vision, borrowing, worse still even if it means borrowing from the devil, in order to shield its citizens from horrendous suffering, sorrow and internal grief on the ground before raising the price of petrol? Any money you spend on your citizens in this circumstance is not a waste. You can never regret it. It is a step in the right direction.

I would like to remind SRP Tinubu that there is always a need to ginger and spice up the economy with one or two economic reforms, activities or measures when you come to power most especially in your case when you inherited a desert- two recessions-2016/17 and 2020/21. It is always a requirement; the need to invigorate the economy your own style.

You do not just start planting; you make the soil to go through some enrichment, with the least being the application of fertilizer to enhance nutrients in the soil.

You do not run an engine on empty oil as without lubrication the engine would be gone before you know it.

More so, even machines and engines after applying and adding oil, you wait for minutes for the oil to circulate before you start using or driving it. For some devices or machines, to ensure maximum performance, you need to prime them.

Even for humans, husband and wife, you need some romantic experience before engaging in the main, the main. You just don’t go and grab and ….., the above simply explains all that is wrong in the approach of SRP Tinubu to the economy .

Now, imagine this Subsidy Removal President, SRP Tinubu starting with that laudable and beautiful approach of declaring a state of emergency on food security with the subsidy still in place. The two impediments though to the success of the program are general security concerns in the country and the level of success in terms of implementation.

With the above two factors addressed, the fund to be spent on the project, the items on which the fund would be allocated to such as fertilizer, seedlings, machinery, research and the rest. In this case, the products in terms of produce in short and midterm are sure boosters to the economy.

Imagine the above been followed by investment in CNG and LNG alternatives to PMS. That is the lifesaver for this administration at this junction and, the best bet for the nation and the government is to embrace Innoson Motors.

It has the package at this point, for CNG vehicles and its conversion of old vehicles to more modern ones using gas.

Buhari’s administration blessed Dangote during the construction of his refinery. It is the time to extend same gesture to Innoson Motors.

The company needs patronage in abundance, and partnership in trust with the government.

I cannot just imagine the level of activity in producing more vehicles as needed in this circumstance, converting and training personnel for conversion to CNG by Innoson Motors.

I believe that, before now, the government should have been in serious talk with the Innoson Company.

At the same time, this administration should by now, be looking for a way to pay the workers, a living wage, by starting in between 45-60k as suggested before.

The three economic activities or measures at the same time with subsidy in place will definitely move the GDP needle significantly to the positive side through the third quarter.

America would never press China to devalue their currency, but whenever China manipulates their currency for devaluation, US, always frowns at it like a horrible offense.

If China produces an original item in millions, just expect imitation of the same product to come in billions, therefore no room to have goods sitting around for a second, just have to go by any means necessary, very powerful producing nation indeed!

It just goes to show that prior to any devaluation the economy should be reflated-backed by deliberate and targeted levels of production.

Imagine the floating of Naira at the end of the third quarter going to the fourth .The economy at this point must have gained enough strength to withstand the ripple effect of the impact coming from floating of Naira.

By the time more activities gets injected into the economy by the fourth quarter, availability of CNG vehicles and converted ones as alternative to PMS vehicles, the people and the economy would have been ready for a leap into post subsidy era.

It would have been seamless just like a needle dropping into an ocean at this point to announce the removal of subsidy.

Delivering the masses and the economy in a soft landing is the impetus that would have attracted and encouraged investors and their investments into the country.

All the aggressive policies rolled out like the tax reform by the tax guy and the tariff and levies imposed would have made sense because the ground must have been prepared for its implementation.

Again, a serious government should not have opted for importation of PMS all in the name of deregulation while at the same time, floating its currency when DSDP program is available at a time government is no more paying subsidy. I would believe there is no trophy for importing fuel into the country by marketers at this time and I also feel the constitution does not prescribe or mandate such an activity.

I am cocky Tinubu’s government would have to go back to DSDP as the pressure on Naira becomes unsustainable, as in unbearable due to the humongous forex demands by oil marketers.

I was about to be heaping praises on this administration regarding their change of mind on the 8k handouts to the poorest of the poor only to find out the government was only playing games condemning federal register in favour of the state register.

What a shame! What a clueless regime! What is the difference between a state and federal register? Nigerians were unanimous in rejecting the idea, even ardent APC supporters said no to it.

It is not about only the register, as it is more about the idea and the program itself, the fear and more or less, the truth is the fund ($800 million dollars) would be lost to corruption, in inflation and would add no value to the economy.

The country would not have been plunged into the avoidable energy crisis if the government had embraced the CNG and LNG policies, therefore, all efforts should be channeled towards it as it appears to be a reliable alternative in automobiles and generators.

The only issue is the safety concerns and that is what the government should be expending its resources and energy on right from the beginning of the project. Also the readiness and seriousness of SRP Tinubu in engaging the labour should start with the use of his influence, position, power and effort, to talk the state governors that are yet to implement the minimum wage into doing so without any delay, most especially at a time more fund is going to them from the FAAC account.

On a final note, I would like to say shame on you, to those people who are always outraged in discussion or interview whenever there is the suggestion that the removal of subsidy should have been done in phases.

It is a pity you allowed your fixation on the scam and fraud in the subsidy regime to seize your sense of TIME and SPACE.

Just before I go, a piece of advice to SRP Tinubu; only God is above mistake, once you are taken out of a woman, you are prone to mistakes.

Do not act like the likes OBJ, PMB trying not to admit their faults; remember that you are a bloody civilian.

Admitting your mistakes is therefore, not a sign of weakness. You have already earned the title SUBSIDY REMOVAL PRESIDENT SRP, and no one in the world can take it away from you.

There’s a need to press the reset buttons at this point.
Our economy is just not ripe for these policies.

The outcome and the feedback from economic standpoint have shown that the economic space-operating environment is premature for policies administered.

However, before it’s too late, there is still a window of opportunity to allow the masses of this country breathe.

It’s by going back to the natural convention of gradual removal of the subsidy in phases.

If you can, just give it a thought and sacrifice the EGO for the sake of over 200 million suffering Nigerians.

The solution to this economic problems is achievable if the government could:
(1) reverse the subsidy removal partially to about 350 Naira per liter for PMS in the next month or so, after immediately stopping importation by marketers (give them a month to exhaust their stock brought in at higher exchange rate). This is to allow more Nigerians the financial freedom to participate in the economic process. It is good for the economy, as it is what the economy needs at this point.

This will allow the money thrown at the economy at this time, to loosen and lubricate the economic space to percolate the system deeper.

(2) Stop the current fuel importation as above and embrace DSDP, ASAP to reduce pressure on the Naira at the I and E window.

Increase the fuel price later in line with the response of the economy to the measures administered.

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