Huge queues formed outside petrol stations across Nigeria on Tuesday after new President Bola Tinubu’s announcement that fuel subsidies would soon be scrapped, sparking panic among consumers.
Newly sworn in president Bola Tinubu said on Monday that there would be no spending on grants in his budget, in line with his campaign promise.
“We will instead redirect funds towards better investments in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will improve the lives of our citizens,” said Mr. Tinubu, 71, during his speech. inauguration.
“The subsidies are disappearing,” he added without giving a precise date, confusing the population and causing motorists to rush to service stations.
The president’s communications team was quick to clarify on Tuesday that the subsidies expire at the end of June, describing the panic buying of fuel as “unnecessary.”
Nigeria is trading its crude oil estimated at billions of dollars for imported fuel (due to the failure of its state refineries) which it then subsidizes, to keep an artificially low price on the market, creating a sinkhole financial.
It is therefore a measure that is very popular with the population, but which siphons off billions of dollars from the public coffers every year. Its removal, long advocated by the World Bank and the IMF to foster development, raises fears of a major rise in fuel prices in the short term in Africa’s most populous country, where almost half of Nigerians already live. in extreme poverty.
“No palliative has been put in place to move things forward. I think we are heading towards a terrible situation, worse than before,” asserts, exasperated, Emeka Emef, a 43-year-old civil servant in front of a station in Lagos, the economic capital. “It’s more suffering for Nigerians,” he said, already facing double-digit inflation.
Over the past ten years, the authorities have tried to remove these subsidies on several occasions. In vain. Each time, they had to backtrack in the face of public anger, inflated to the hilt by the unions. In 2012, the army even took to the streets to maintain calm during monster demonstrations.
SOURCE : AFP