Home / Featured / Tinubu Calls Jonathan’s Sure-P “A Monumental Fraud” Praises Buhari Over Subsidy Removal

Tinubu Calls Jonathan’s Sure-P “A Monumental Fraud” Praises Buhari Over Subsidy Removal

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and former governor
of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has described former president
Goodluck Jonathan’s Sure-P programme as a monumental fraud which only
objective was to siphon public funds into the pockets of its architects.

According to Tinubu, the only thing sure about Sure-P was that its
architects would siphon the public’s funds to fatten their own wallets.
”They wanted to save money (for themselves) yet expend the people for no
good reason at all,” he added.

In a statement entitled: Ending Price Fixing, The Making of Economic
Sense, released on Thursday, the APC leader commended President Muhammadu
Buhari for being courageous in his decision to remove the oil subsidy,
adding that the president did what is right.

President Buhari after carefully weighing the options decided to do what
is right. In an act of courage he removed the oil subsidy thereby freeing
the downstream component of this strategic sector of the economy from the
distortions of price fixing.”

Tinubu’s statement read:

Ending Price Fixing, The Making of Economic Sense

To construct the right building sometimes means we have to tear down the
wrong one standing in our way. Our economic development hinges in equal
measure on saying good bye to debilitating and corrupted old practices as
it does on embracing efficient, wealth creating new ones.

As political progressives, we are anchored by a healthy and strong regard
for the positive role government must assume in ensuring fair play and the
just allocation of wealth and benefits within our political economy. We
understand that the so called free market is not always fair. This is the
major reason that we advocate a comprehensive policy of economic
development projects coupled with social programs. These development
projects will build the infrastructure and create jobs that were beyond
the ability and rationale of our private sector to do. The social programs
will bring succor to those the dynamics of the free market would have
otherwise left behind.

Yet, as progressives we must be pragmatic and not allow ourselves to
become blinded by or render ourselves subservient to ideological bias.
Ideology is meant to serve us, not us to serve it. As such, we must
recognize that there are certain things the workings of the market perform
better over the longer arc of time than government may perform.
Establishing the most efficient price for what is essentially an economic
commodity is one such thing better left to the interplay of supply and
demand. While short-term exigencies may at times call for government
action to stabilize markets and prices, government’s long-term
determination of such economic prices, although initiated with the finest
intentions, often contorts into something ugly and callous. It tends to
transmute into corruption, waste and distorted pricing signals that cost
the economy more than they benefit the people.

Against this background, we must assess the recent decision to allow the
workings of supply and demand to determine the price of fuel. Most of us
have called this process one of deregulation. This is an inaccuracy that
should be promptly corrected. This decision should end arbitrary
government price fixing. By ending this price fixing, government
regulation of this market will not be eliminated. It will simply change
from its emphasis on maintaining a subsidized price to ensuring that the
market remains free and devoid of collusion so that sufficient supply is
available at a defensible and affordable albeit higher than subsidy price.
Government must still monitor this market to ensure against unjust
enrichment that comes from attempts at price fixing.

Understandably the new pricing decision elicited mixed reactions from a
cross section of Nigerians. This is understandable in view of the fact
that the fuel subsidy had been with us for such a long period that it
seemed integral to our political and economic life. However, we should not
lament the departure of something just because of its longevity
particularly when that very policy had ceased to serve us long ago.

The decision to end the subsidy was hard but it was also inevitable. It
had distorted into a system where wrongdoers benefited at the expense of
the innocent. The bogus supplier was paid for supplying nothing while you
sweated in long lines for fuel that was never there. The smuggler secreted
fuel across the border while our economy crossed the border into fuel
scarcity. As the price stayed fixed at a low level, investors were
apprehensive about fixing existing or building new refineries. Our
petrochemical industry remained unfertilized because potential investors
could not decipher how they could make a decent return under such a
pricing regime. Because of these imbalances, we were forced to export hard
currency and many jobs to purchase fuel and other products abroad.

While the price of fuel was cheap in paper, these were the hidden costs
that made the subsidy regime an expensive and heavy yoke the nation could
ill continue. With dwindling revenue from oil due to the slump in global
oil prices and a dwindling forex reserve, the country could no longer live
in denial.

President Buhari after carefully weighing the options decided to do what
is right. In an act of courage he removed the oil subsidy thereby freeing
the downstream component of this strategic sector of the economy from the
distortions of price fixing.
However, this decision was not to be a step toward conservative austerity
as practiced by the former government. That government simply wanted to
end the program that they may prove obedient to neoliberal economic
doctrines. They offered no programs of valid compensation to the people.
Instead, they instigated a policy of monumental fraud known as Sure-P.
However, the only thing sure about it was that its architects would
siphon the public’s funds to fatten their own wallets. They wanted to
save money (for themselves) yet expend the people for no good reason at
all.

The Buhari government took a vastly different approach. Given the
inefficiencies inherent in the pricing regime, this administration asked
the fundamental question: could this money be better spent to help the
most vulnerable of our people. For it was also recognized that the pricing
regime was a regressive feature. Its benefit went disproportionately to
the well off who needed no such help. Better to use the sums to more
directly and exclusively assist poor and working class Nigerians.

Thus, President Buhari followed through with a 500 billon fund to support
a social safety program and empower the poor and needy. Five million
School children will be fed for 200 days. Other plans of funding social
infrastructure, education, transportation, health and other critical areas
needing attention. What the President did is about the future of our
country and that of the next generation.

With regard to our petroleum sector, The President’s decision constitutes
a major step toward removing the nightmare of fuel importation and its
attendant hardships especially to our foreign reserve condition. It was
the right choice to make. The club of fuel importers had become a parasite
and a drain on our economy. With this decision the exploitation by
marketers, the unchecked smuggling, mismanagement, lost of productive man
hours with people waiting in fuel queues, traffic congestion and health
hazards associated with black market and other desperate practices will
steadily pass away.

For almost 3 decades we have entertained distortions in the downstream
sector by operating an opaque system susceptible to manipulation and
structured in a way that allowed a few people to gain mightily from the
system and feed fat on the misery and frustration of millions of
Nigerians.

The oil sector became unattractive to both local and foreign investors.
Government price pricing was a disincentive. Our oil refineries became
epileptic and later comatose. But now investment in the sector will open
to all. Instead of fighting this measure, opposing segments of organized
labor should consider collective investment in refineries. Such investment
will enrich membership and give them a direct interest in the success of
refineries crucial to our national growth.

As it now stands, while we were paying on the front end a low price for
fuel when it could be gotten, we were being asked to pay too high a price
in hidden and indirect costs for such malpractice to continue. Not every
cost is defined by what comes out of your pocket. There are times when the
greatest cost is the failure to receive a benefit otherwise due.
It is time to come to grips with the hard facts of the price fixing. It
cuts and bleeds the economy in ways more numerous and deeper than those
it heals.

Moreover, there are vastly better ways to spend the same money and
materially improve the wellbeing of millions of our people. This
government did not withdraw the subsidy in order to save them but spend
the people. It is transferring the funds to better spend them and better
save the people.
Nothing in this world is perfect but this decision is a just and correct
one aimed at bolstering the economy while better caring for those the
system has unfairly treated. I can find little fault in the new policy
taken and the reasons for it. When all is placed in the balance, the
scales now better tip in favor of better economy and future because of
the decision so wisely made.

Source:PointBlankNews

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