Unmasking Nigeria's Subsidy Removal: Impact on the Masses, Manipulation, and Economic Struggles


Emerging from the depths of a global pandemic and the recent ordeal with the new naira notes scam, the removal of subsidies serves as yet another blow to an already downtrodden population. Join Mariam Fadahunsi as she delves into the intricate web of Nigeria's subsidy removal.

Unmasking Nigeria's Subsidy Removal: Impact on the Masses, Manipulation, and Economic Struggles
Image source: dataphyte.com

I had zero idea what the word ‘subsidy’ meant until a few days ago. All I knew was that with subsidy, there was reduced petroleum prices and without, there was increased cost. The events that ensued on the day following the declaration of our President on the erasure of the fuel subsidy spurred me to look into the impacts of subsidy.

The inauguration of our current President, Bola Tinubu on the 29th of May, 2023, ended in a fit of panic after his announcement that there was no longer subsidization of fuel costs by the government. The masses were alarmed at the news and they pointed fingers at the only person they could point fingers at – the President, forgetting that he was newly elected and had no hand in how the matters of the subsidy were previously handled.

The following day, petroleum stations did not open for business. There was also heavy traffic that was caused by dozens of cars that had taken up an entire lane on the road to queue for fuel in front of the few petrol stations that had chosen to open up for business.

The subsidy is supposedly accounted for until June of this year which is a move on the part of the past administration to avoid responsibility and lay any and all consequences on the current administration. 


 However, Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPC), in an interview with Arise TV, has said that this is not “cash-backed” and that the numbers on paper tell a different story to the actual finances. This scheme that is done to create scarcity and drive up the fuel cost despite having subsidized fuel is a blatant abuse of the consumers by the fuel marketers. It is saddening to see how the market is manipulated to profit the sellers and subdue the buyers. 

We pride ourselves as an oil-producing country when in fact, we are unable to sustain ourselves on the revenue it brings partly because the cost of subsidization takes a huge chunk of it. Beginning from the 2000s when subsidy was introduced due to the inconsistent supply of our refineries, it was meant to be a band aid until a permanent solution was on ground. Subsidy, in itself, is not a sustainable system and is only meant to work on the short-term basis to ease the burden of the citizens. In the long term, all it does is bleed an already shriveled country. Despite the sea of professionals – elected and appointed and the available funds, it is baffling that trillions of naira have not been able to get our refineries up and running.

Our lives are constantly threatened by the inconsistency of the petroleum price which is tied to every aspect of our lives. Coming fresh from the heels of the pandemic and the scam of the new naira notes, this subsidy removal serves as another blow that knocks out the masses that are already down.

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