Nigerian President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu says he decided to scrap the four decades-long fuel subsidy to save Nigeria from fiscal catastrophe. He disclosed this in his 2024 New Year message to the nation on Monday.
Tinubu noted that he was aware of the consequences the removal of the subsidy has caused.
He stressed that he was aware that the removal of the subsidies and other decisions his administration took caused hardship but were done in the best interest of Nigeria.
“Over the past seven months of our administration, I have taken some difficult and yet necessary decisions to save our country from fiscal catastrophe. One of those decisions was the removal of fuel subsidy which had become an unsustainable financial burden on our country for more than four decades. Another was the removal of the chokehold of a few people on our foreign exchange system that benefited only the rich and the most powerful among us. Without a doubt, these two decisions brought some discomfort to individuals, families and businesses,” he said.
“I am well aware that for some time now the conversations and debates have centred on the rising cost of living, high inflation which is now above 28% and the unacceptable high under-employment rate.”
“From the boardrooms at Broad Street in Lagos to the main streets of Kano and Nembe Creeks in Bayelsa, I hear the groans of Nigerians who work hard every day to provide for themselves and their families.
The Nigerian President assured that the relief would come as “tough times never last”, urging that the current circumstances should make Nigerians resolve to work better.
“The time may be rough and tough, however, our spirit must remain unbowed because tough times never last. We are made for this period, never to flinch, never to falter. The socio-economic challenges of today should energize and rekindle our love and faith in the promise of Nigeria. Our current circumstances should make us resolve to work better for the good of our beloved nation. Our situation should make us resolve that this new year 2024, each and every one of us will commit to being better citizens,” the president added.
He said that the last seven months of his administration laid the groundwork of economic recovery plans and is poised to accelerate the pace of service delivery across sectors.
Tinubu said, “Just this past December during COP28 in Dubai, the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and I agreed and committed to a new deal to speed up the delivery of the Siemens Energy power project that will ultimately deliver a reliable supply of electricity to our homes and businesses under the Presidential Power Initiative which began in 2018. Other power installation projects to strengthen the reliability of our transmission lines and optimise the integrity of our National grid are ongoing across the country.”
The president stated that his administration has stepped up a plan to cultivate 500,000 hectares of farmlands across the country for agricultural production to ensure constant food supply, security and affordability.
His speech was the first New Year speech to the nation seven months after his inauguration when he announced the removal of the subsidies resulting in the skyrocketing of the uncommon inflation and hardship across the country. But the president insisted that the subsidies were unsustainable and the suffering would be over.
However, seven months later, the cries from common Nigerians increased daily as some basic needs were becoming inaccessible to millions and the cost of life multiplied.