The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has assured Nigerians that this time around, removal of fuel subsidy would have a positive impact on their lives. Speaking at the NPAN Town Hall Meeting Thursday, she explained that the subsidy removal would allow for more transparency in the system, adding that it would make the sector attractive to potential investors.
Okonjo-Iweala said: “The funds that would be saved from that would be used for the development of many pressing social and infrastructural facilities. We are also concerned about borrowing. This year, we borrowed N852 billion to fund the budget. For the proposed budget for 2012, we would have borrowed over N1.1 trillion, which is almost the total of our capital expenditure.”
The finance minister also said that President Goodluck Jonathan has outlined programmes where all the resources that would be saved from the fuel subsidy removal would be invested.
“The revenue from these subsidies will be used to produce social safety net programmes for the poor in the society. These are programmes designed to touch the poorer people in our society. So we are looking at youth employment programmes. There are many unemployed youths. The Federal Government has introduced a youth programme: You-Win, where we are looking at empowering the youths. Some of the money would go towards that. The other is urban mass transit, which is to improve the services of people within the society as well as to enable them move around.
“There is also plan for development of vocational training skills. In this country, typically, when we are building a house, we find out that the carpenters, plumbers; most of them that we engage are foreigners from Togo, Niger and other neighbouring countries. Why? When we have our youth who are unemployed? Why can’t we train them to be able to render such services? We are going to train them. These are projects we are going to look at. So you (Nigerians) should be able to hold government accountable,” she said.