In the last three months, I have written three articles showing clearly how FUEL SUBSIDY removal was the greatest error. Information that the Tinubu government paid N169.4 billion as a subsidy in August this year to keep the pump price at N620 per litre, exonerates my stand on subsidy removal.
Tinubu and his team knows that Nigerians have a culture of enduring suffering, but there is a limit to which they can endure. For that reason, they have decided to bring back the Fuel Subsidy to avert the likelihood of mass anger whose outcome cannot be exactly predicted.
It is clear that Mr. Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian President, and his market fundamentalist team, have come to the realization that we are right when we argue that Fuel Subsidy is an Energy Security Nigeria cannot do without.
They can longer sustain their arguments about subsidy removal, they now agree with some of us that maintaining fuel subsidy which has a direct impact on the price of commodities is a mandatory duty and not an option. They know they have goofed, perhaps those who feed on taxpayers’ money to think for the government failed to educate Tinubu that removing Fuel Subsidy in a country like Nigeria with a huge poverty rate and pronounced infrastructural deficit, with a poor transportation system is economy blasphemy that will lead to mass suffering and deaths.
Doesn’t Mr. Tinubu’s government know this truth? The West, particularly the United States who are quick to prescribe neoliberal capitalism to Africa as a solution for economic challenges does not practice that on its own soil.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), pushed Mr. Tinubu’s government and other African states to embrace Neoliberal capitalism. The hypocrisy in their action is that they ensure that in the United States, Britain, and the likes of them, the governments are committed to providing basic welfare packages for the citizens.
Unfortunately, the West that has sustained a welfarist ideology ensuring their citizens live a decent life with the government bearing huge costs, is using the IMF and World Bank to force Mr. Tinubu’s government and other countries in Africa to embrace neoliberal capitalism that is pushing citizens into poverty, with Subsidy Removal as the most effective weapon.
The problem is that African leaders and their Western allies Economists who cheer this kind of faulty thinking, do not have the understanding that the IMF and World Bank neoliberal capitalist prescription is to keep Africa permanently underdeveloped by destroying citizens purchasing power and the manufacturing sector.
The bitter truth Mr. Tinubu’s government and his neoliberal ideology auxiliary Economists have refused to accept is that there is no country in the world that has made any progress on the basis of IMF and World Bank neoliberal capitalism model which they push in the guise of Subsidy removal.
It is a known fact that countries like China and India which have made measurable impacts in lifting their citizens from poverty and growing their economy, refused to play by the IMF and World Bank rules. Tinubu has to have this kind of understanding if he must put Nigeria on the path of sustainable growth.
Tinubu and his neoliberal Economists propagandists must know that the United States and the West do not practice this kind of wicked capitalism ideology they push to Africa. At least, the 2009 global recession has shown that in the United States, neoliberal capitalism is a mere intellectual exercise that is not applicable to real-life situations.
Even as the US battled the economic recessions, the government did not remove subsidies, didn’t sack workers, didn’t crumble its economy through currency devaluation, and did not tax the citizens to raise money. As a matter of fact, the US government increased its expenditure and lowered taxes. The government did that so the poor would have money to spend on ground since the recession happened as a result of inadequate money in circulation. The Private sector got bailouts from the government against the neoliberal rules of economic development.
Evidence before us is that subsidy is not the problem, it is the corruption in the way it has been managed. Nigerians must demand that Mr. Tinubu’s government addresses corruption in the fuel subsidy management and reinstate it for the common good of all citizens.
The neoliberal Economists propagandists who have lost touch with reality and have refused to embrace developmental economics, who are advising Mr. Tinubu to continue with the neoliberal capitalist model that has been rejected by the West must stop.
Mr. Tinubu’s team needs to help him by exploring homegrown developmental economics models with governance and citizens’ welfare at the centre. Wicked capitalism with cruel policies has not helped any country in the world and Nigeria will not be an exception.
Audu Liberty Oseni, MAWA-Foundation Coordinator