Sincerely Removing Fuel (PMS) Subsidy
I this write up I won’t go into the genesis of the fuel subsidy debate in Nigeria,the eventual abrupt removal and the current face off between the Nigerian Government and Labour Unions/Civil society groups. Simply because I think everybody around the globe knows what’s going on already
Interestingly every Government official talking about fuel subsidy points the Nigerian public to economic hardship in some part of the EU and use countries like Greece as an example, even though Greece economic problems has nothing to do with Petrol subsidy. One form of comparison our brilliant economist won’t ever talk about is Nigeria and Malaysia. Nigeria issue goes beyond subsidy removal, that’s why I am of the opinion that anyone telling the Nigerian people that subsidy removal is really the only thing that can save this country from crashing financially is just engaging in pure official Government Blackmail and He/She is a part of the insincerity shrouding the removal of subsidy in Nigeria. By the way this writer believes Subsidy on Petrol should be phased out, but certainly not this moment in time and way it’s being carried out.
Watch the short video that explains Fuel subsidy in layman's terms and then look at the Statistics below and you be the judge yourself when it comes to fuel subsidy in Nigeria.
At the end of Dec 2011 Malaysian Government Fuel Subsidy amounted to 18Billion Malaysian Ringgit (Source Malaysian GTP- Government Transformation Programme) The Equivalent of this amount Spent on subsidy by Malaysia in terms of Nigerian Naira = 913 Billion, 244, Million. Nigeria’s population is estimated at 150Million that’s 5 times more than that of Malaysia which is at 28.3 million. Now If Malaysia is spending almost one Trillion Nigerian Naira to subsides fuel for a population 5 times less than the population of Nigeria, it leaves us to ask many (WHY) questions for our own government to answer.
This type of comparison and not the Greece economic brouhaha that’s on the lips of pro subsidy removal economist and apologist alike, to me makes more sense. More shocking is that Malaysian State oil revenues supplies just more than 40% of government revenue, while in Nigeria the Oil sector provides a colossal 80% of Government budgetary revenues. Yet Malaysia dares to subsidies fuel in a world where the IMF and World Bank insist that Sub Saharan African Countries MUST do away with fuel subsidy or ? (Possibly it’s now a condition for one of their Loans, which African Governments seem not to be able to do without) A classic case of - The Drug Dealer and the Crack Head.
Comparing some other Economic Statistics Nigeria’s Nominal GDP estimate stands at $247.128Billon and its Per capita income at $1,541. Malaysia Nominal GDP: $255.3 billion and per capita income (GNI): $8,126. Both Countries practically have the very same Natural resources: Petroleum, liquefied natural gas (LNG), tin, minerals. Agricultural products: Palm oil, rubber, timber, coco.
Malaysia is multi ethnic just like Nigeria but with a much less ethic grouping when compared to Nigeria, however Malaysia unlike Nigeria is multi racial and has more officially recognised religious groups than Nigeria’s 3 main Christian, Muslim and Animist's
Just so that this write up won’t get clogged up with statistics and comparison I will stop here, I have chosen some of these data (which can be verified from official government website source) to paint a picture of what could have been possibly similarities in both countries but are now so different.
I believe countries such as Malaysia is a better basis for comparison if we wish to tell ourselves the truth in Nigeria and grow our own economy, than using European countries or the United States.
The final question here is; why will two countries with possibilities for similarity yet be so different? The answers may just be found by pointing to or examining 3 key features -1. Leadership, 2.Followership and 3.Value systems. but I will leave you to find that out for yourself.