The Removal Of Fuel Subsidy By The Federal Government Was A Step In The Right Direction…Governor Otti


Abia State Governor,Dr Alex Otti is of the view that the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government was a step in the right direction but regretted that more could have been done to insulate the public from the anticipated shocks .

Governor Otti who made the assertion while delivering a Lecture entitled “Petroleum subsidy Removal: Dealing with the challenges,harnessing the opportunities” at the 63rd Founders Day Lecture of the University of Nigeria Nsuka held at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium and Unity Hall, UNN, noted that a responsive measures should have been put in place to cushion the shock that goes with a policy as the removal of subsidy.

“I do not think that much was done to properly educate the public on the issues at stake and the danger continued payment of subsidy posed to the economic health of the country.”he said

He noted that a more robust policy framework should have been developed to offer structured support targeted at specific areas of needs reported by world Bank.

According to the Governor, developing economies in the world identify and pay subsidies on energy products that are mostly used by the poor to insulate them from the economic hardships that petrol subsidy removal would inevitably bring.

Governor Otti was of the opinion that considerations should have been made for the urban and rural poor through subsidized mass transit system, cash transfers, food palliatives, farm inputs and low interest agro-loan.

He also observed that the issue of national minimum wage should have been considered to reflect the current economic realities as the current wage could tantamount to starvation,frustration and public anger.

“I know a lot of people would ask why  I am recommending a recalibration of the minimum wage when many state governments are struggling to pay the current #30,000″ .The issue in my view has to do with priorities . What are we focusing on? I have always harped on the unique place of the human being in the entire development process, nothing else makes sense if the welfare of the population is not given primary considerations” According to Otti.

The Abia State Chief Executive who asserted that fuel subsidy removal has worsened the living condition of the citizens, recommended the immediate development and implementation of robust policy measures to address the challenges of rising poverty and unemployment .

He is also of the view that all levels of government must immediately invest in mass transit schemes, strictly as a social service to be managed by people with good understanding of transportation.

In his address, the Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Prof Charles Arizechukwu Igwe said that the Founder’s Day celebration of the UNN is an annual event to commemorate the birth of the first Indegenous University in Oct 1960 by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Prof Igwe noted that Governor Otti was chosen to deliver the 63rd lecture based on his uncommon achievements which would serve to inspire and motivate the staff, students and alumni of the Institution.

He said the Lecture is intended to create a state for serious reflections and discussions on issues of national and global interest.

The event which was chaired by Professor Elochukwu Amaucheazi was attended by the Governor of Enugu State,  Chief Peter Mbah represented by the Information Commissioner,  Enugu , Mr Aka Eze Aka , the Vice Chancellor , ABSU , Professor Maxwel Ogbulu, Members of the State Executive Council, the Academia, Abia Indigenes in Enugu among others.