Oby Ezekwesili, the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), says if elected as president, she would let go of fuel subsidy.
The former vice-president of the World Bank, said this while unveiling her roadmap for 2019 in Lagos on Monday.
She said the Muhammadu Buhari government has renamed oil subsidy and under-recovery and has spent N1.3 trillion on fuel subsidies.
She went on to put the figure in context, by saying the same government allocated N1.3 trillion to capital projects for an entire budget year.
DEREGULATION AND OIL SECTOR REFORM
Ezekwesili said she is committed to implementing difficult reforms, including the oil sector reform.
“When I read somewhere that the minister of state for petroleum resources disclosed that the federal government spends N1.3trillion on under-recovery, which is the new name that this government has given to fuel subsidy, I was shaken.
“N1.3 trillion, as in 1.3 trillion? Let me put that figure in perspective for you. The former minister of finance told us a few months ago that the total amount that the federal government released for capital expenditure is N1.3 trillion.
“The total amount of money that this government spends on subsidising fuel is about the same amount that it spends on the construction of roads and stocking our hospitals with medicine, funding our universities, and working on power as well as other types of infrastructure.
“It is the same fuel that ends up in neighbouring countries, the same fuel that the poorest among us in several state across the country pay substantially more for?
“Some people are feeding fat and buying private jets on our commonwealth. That is why this unwholesome fuel subsidy must go.
“It is stagnating our economy, and impoverishing our people. Just imagine how much good an ACPN government can do with an extra N1.3 trillion to spend effectively and efficiently, considering that my middle name is Madam Due Process.”
AMENDING THE LAND USE ACT
The 55-year-old technocrat said one of the major laws holding many Nigerians down in poverty is the land use Act, which she promised that her government will work to amend.
“There is a particular law in Nigeria which plunges millions of citizens into terrible poverty. During the campaigns eight years ago, the PDP promised to amend it. It won and failed to amend it,” she said.
“Four years ago, the APC promised to amend it, it won and failed to amend it. You see why the APCPDP is a single entity, they promise and fail.
“There is hardly any other law right now, that the government can pass with as much power to unlock wealth as the land reform law.
“It is time for us to end this arbitrary approach to land tenure administration and the use of land as a political weapon by governors and local government chairman.”
Other — but not all — components of the roadmap include:
- 12 cities project to bring 12 Nigerian cities to global standards
- Implement the power sector reform Act of 2007 (Deregulation of power sector)
- Get a Skill (GAS): Produce 900,000 skilled workers every year
- Increase Nigeria’s productivity from less than $3 per hour to at least $10 per hour
- Teachers Top Talent (Attract the best into teaching)
- Housing all teachers scheme (Making teachers homeowners)
- One state product plan (For every state to produce a core crop).
- Upgrade Curriculum to 21st century standards
- Full autonomy for public universities
- Reduce the number of out-of-school children to 5.4 million by 2023
- Outsource Primary Healthcare Centres using PPP — with subsidies
- Sufferhead Challenge: To use public feedbacks to amend business regulations
- Bizlift: National Telephone Helpline to offer guidance and advisory services to SMEs
- Improved paved road network from 65,000KM to 120,000KM
- Devolution of Power: political and fiscal restructuring
- Set up $1 billion science and technology innovation fund
- Set up $1.5 billion infrastructure fund
- National Housing Programme to reduce the cost of homes by 50 percent
Ezekwesili says she would reveal her well-detailed manifesto on Friday, as she challenged President Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, and other presidential aspirants to public debate.