Wednesday 11 January 2012

Larry Esin comments on removal of fuel subsidy

Larry Esin

Former governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Engr. Larry Esin has commented on the growing debate on fuel subsidy. This morning, he opined on the issue of national concern using his facebook page...below is his comment…
A very happy new year to all of you and may your plans and desires for the new year all come to pass. Undoubtedly, the new year began with a myriad of sociopolitical and economic development issues for the Oro nation, Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria. On all of these challenges we must exercise wisdom and perseverance. Though much has been taken from Oro and much have Oro sacrificed, that which we are we are, one equal hearts of heroic tempers. The question of our role in the governance of our State in 2015, a responsibility we welcome with open arms, will occupy and engage our thoughts and actions for the next three years. And rightfully so !
But let us not be consumed, blinded and misled by the fledgeling believe that it is "our turn" now. It has always been our turn. For as long as we have been a part of Akwa Ibom State, it has always been our turn and responsibility to vie for any political office and offer solutions to meet the development challenges of our State. The ibibio's, anangs, ekid's, and all other ethnic groups will express their fundamental right to serve their State in 2015, and we cannot fault them for doing so. Oro will win the governorship not by evoking "Zoning", but by presenting the best marketable Oro candidate in the race and giving 100% of our support to that candidate period !
As Nigerians, we are also concerned about the fuel subsidy removal and its attendant impact on the quality of our lives. Let me sate here that while I appreciate the objective of the federal government to generate revenue, I do not agree that such revenue can best be secured through the removal of subsidies. Neither do I subscribe to the argument that "subsidies" are anti development as some of the proponents of the removal of subsidies have argued.
The reality is that subsidies are economic development tools; employed by even the most advanced countries (USA, China, UK, Japan, Germany, OPEC member countries etc) to boost the competitiveness of their industries on the international market. Most of you may have heard of the agriculture subsidy war between China and the US, which helps grain farmers in these countries to compete internationally.
The OPEC member States grant far reaching subsidies on petroleum products, a major industrial input, to boost cost effective production and ultimately the competitiveness of their industries internationally. However, where there is a failed implementation of subsidy programs or initiatives, the resultant impact on the national economy can be devastating; like in Nigeria today. The solution is therefore not a withdrawal of subsidies, but a proper implementation of the program.
Removing subsidy because of inefficiency is equivalent to throwing out the bath water with the baby in it. If our refineries are fixed so that we can refine our crude oil locally, and the recurrent expenditure of government trimmed, we will have recovered most of the $8 Billion annual cost of subsidies each year. Let us exercise wisdom and perseverance in tackling these problems; the solutions can be found within and not through fresh World bank borrowing. These will be a grave mistake and must be avoided by all cost. Thank you so much for the opportunity to chat with you again, and please pardon my long silence on this forum. I may be silent, but I am not insensitive to our collective challenges as a people. All the best and God bless.
Larry Esin

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