The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba on Tuesday, reiterated the need to deregulate the Nigerian petrolatum sector by removing Premium Motor Spirit subsidy.
According to him, the subsidy of PMS products is only benefitting the wealthy and not the poor in the society.
The minister who spoke at the leadership and governors discourse on open government partnership held in Abuja, said,“Some will say if you take out fuel subsidy the ordinary will suffer, how will the ordinary man suffer is it in terms of food? Vehicles that are used for moving food are heavy duty vehicles.
“And they don’t use PMS they use diesel and that has since been deregulated those that we are actually subsidizing for are the very rich.
“Those who drive the Rolls Royce, the Lamborghinis and other expensive vehicles. Not those who are using 1.0 or 1.5 litre vehicle.”
He also faulted sectors seeking for subsidies, stating that subsidies are injurious to the government’s efforts to generate revenue.
“Because if you talk about borrowing and you say is too high and your revenue is low what do you do? You sit down and look, you are not getting enough revenue yet and you are asking for subsidies on everything.
“Last week I saw a group asking for subsidy, when we are talking about deregulating the economy”
He added that the importance of Open Government Partnership is highlighted in this regard, as it will enable Nigerians understand the poor state of the economy and embrace reforms that will improve it.
He noted that contrary to what many Nigerians believe Nigeria is not a rich nation, but has the potentials to become an affluent nation if the necessary reforms including the removal of fuel subsidy is implemented.
He said, “Nigerians need to know what is going on in their country, they need to know that the country is not a rich nation, like we all think and if we do all agree that the country isn’t rich, then the reforms that are required to be carried out has to be carried out.
“All of this things are what the OGP is there for so that we work with our civil society group, open our books so that they see and understand, yes Nigeria used to be extremely rich but we bungles it, we have the potentials to be rich and the only way to get to those potentials is to carryout those necessary reforms.”
Agba further stated that with better knowledge of government processes and operations, Nigerians will be more encouraged to patronize locally made products