A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prof Itse Sagay, has expressed his viewpoint that President Bola Tinubu should have delayed the removal of the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, until six months after his inauguration.
This suggestion was made during his appearance on Inside Sources with Laolu Akande, broadcasted on Channels Television on Friday.
Sagay criticized the abrupt removal of the subsidy, as announced in President Tinubu’s inaugural speech on May 29, 2023.
According to Sagay, who served as the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) between 2015 and 2023, this decision has led to significant hardship among Nigerians.
He advocated for a more gradual approach, suggesting that the Tinubu administration should have waited until Nigeria began local petrol production before deciding to remove the subsidy on the essential commodity.
He said, “Petrol is critical to our lives. The cost of living is going up, and basic living is now expensive. I think we might have gone on for another six months and as internal production was coming up, then the subsidy can be removed.
“The immediacy and the sudden manner of the decision to remove petrol subsidy has created an immediate level of hardship which is almost becoming unbearable.
“I am not in full agreement with the way and order some of the things are being done now. On the issue of petrol, I would have been happier if the government had been patient to allow internal production to commence before removing the subsidy.
“Now, Dangote is now producing. And of course, the refinery in Port Harcourt is almost ready. Perhaps, if we had waited a little longer, the transition will not have been harsh. We are in it already but I think we are in competent hands and we will get out of it.
“We’ve been on this subsidy for decades and a few more months would not have killed us. You can see the difference in lifestyle now.”
Sagay also said there must be a stop to the “deterioration of the value of the naira”.
He said, “I never dreamt that there would be a time when the dollar would change for over N1,000 to a dollar. It has to stop, otherwise, it will destroy everything that the government is trying to do.”
The senior lawyer, however, expressed confidence in the new government and its ability to provide quality leadership for the Nigerian people.
“They are people who know what they are doing. I have faith in them and I believe that as time goes on, the pressure on Nigerians will ease, hardship will decrease and we will be in a much better position that we are in now,” he said.
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