The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has criticized the Nigerian government for spending $7 billion on petrol subsidies from January to September 2022, which has contributed to the country’s economic downturn. The organization mentioned the $15.6 billion subsidization, which accounts for more than half of the federal government’s budget for half a year, could have been used to fund numerous crucial public projects.
According to data presented by the CNG, the $15.6 billion petrol subsidy could have funded the $2 billion Siemens power deal, as well as $2.3 billion Lagos-Kano rail, $11 billion Lagos-Calabar rail, $3 billion Port-Hercourt-Maiduguri rail, $9 billion Wembley Stadiums, $3.8 billion AKk Gas Project, and $5.3 billion NLNG T7 Project.
The CNG emphasized that the subsidy’s expenditures amounted to N580 billion in January 2023, which exceeds the combined yearly budget of the states of Anambra and Kaduna and the combined yearly budgets of the Ministries of Defense, Education, and Health.
The CNG described the subsidy as a “source of corruption.” This subsidy, according to the organization, has mainly benefited a few wealthy households at the expense of the majority.
Despite the calls to end or curtail the subsidy, previous Nigerian administrations have been unable to do so. The CNG urged the Nigerian government to use the savings to finance public works and suggested the need to reactivate the refineries and speed up the Kolmari Bauchi/Gombe states’ exploration of new oil reserves.
CNG convened a one-day roundtable on June 6 in Kaduna, bringing together its 150 affiliates and other northern interest groups, to discuss Nigeria’s state.
The CNG also urged the member of the Nigerian public not to be deceived by “the ruthless cartel that has been impoverishing the nation while pocketing the subsidy proceeds for their personal benefits and those of their immediate families.”
The organization highlighted the need for the Nigerian government to introduce social cushioning and protection measures before removing the subsidy. The group calls on the Tinubu administration to investigate the fuel market chain and deal with smuggling, hoarding, and subsidy fraud.
The CNG accused the Nigeria Labour Congress of betrayal and of acting in the interests of its members alone. The organization stated that Labor has repeatedly retreated from serious national issues, rendered the fight powerless, and consequently demands that the group make amends.
The CNG encouraged the public to be vigilant, calm, and focused while demanding protection of their collective rights to Nigeria’s resources. The coalition reminded the citizens that the petroleum resources are a natural endowment and that all Nigerians are entitled to the benefits that accrue from it.