Prof. Sagay says Tinubu ought to have waited six months before eliminating the petrol subsidy.


President Bola Tinubu, according to Professor Itse Sagay, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, ought to have waited six months following his inauguration before eliminating the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), or petrol, subsidy.

He revealed this during a discussion about Nigeria’s future.

Yesterday, the senior attorney appeared as a guest on Channels Television.

He claimed that great suffering had been caused by the president’s abrupt removal of the petrol subsidy in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023.

Sagay, who chaired the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) from 2015 to 2023, stated that the Tinubu administration ought to have held off on cutting off subsidies for the luxury good until local petrol production had started.

Fuel is essential to our survival. The living expenses is going up, and basic living is now expensive. I think we might have gone on for another six months and as internal production was coming up, then the subsidy could be removed,” he said.

Continuing, Sagay said, “The immediacy and the sudden manner of the decision to remove petrol subsidy has created an immediate level of hardship which is almost becoming unbearable.”

“I am not in full agreement with the way and order some of the things are being done now. On the issue of petrol, I would have been happier if the government had been patient to allow internal production to commence before removing the subsidy.

“Now, Dangote is now producing. And of course, the refinery in Port Harcourt is almost ready. Perhaps, if we had waited a little longer, the transition would not have been harsh. We are in it already but I think we are in competent hands and we will get out of it.

“We’ve been on this subsidy for decades and a few more months would not have killed us. You can see the difference in lifestyle now.”

Sagay also said there must be a stop to the “deterioration of the value of the naira”. He said, “I never dreamt that there would be a time when the naira would change for over N1,000 to a dollar. It has to stop, otherwise, it will destroy everything that the government is trying to do.”

The senior lawyer, however, expressed confidence in the new government and its ability to provide quality leadership for the Nigerian people.

“They are people who know what they are doing. I have faith in them and I believe that as time goes on, the pressure on Nigerians will ease, hardship will decrease and we will be in a much better position that we are in now,” he said.

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