The Governor of Abia State, Alex Otti, has voiced his support for the removal of fuel subsidy by the administration of President Bola Tinubu, describing it as the right decision for Nigerians.
He made these remarks while delivering the 63rd Founders’ Day lecture at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, Enugu State, News About Nigeria reports.
Governor Otti emphasised the importance of removing fuel subsidies, stating that the lack of investment in local refining has had severe economic consequences, including job losses and hindering the growth of related industries.
He argued that the subsidy should have been removed a decade ago to place the nation on the path of sustainable national development.
While supporting the removal of the subsidy, Governor Otti also highlighted the need for more strategic planning and effective communication by the Federal Government to insulate the public from the anticipated shocks caused by the policy change.
He emphasised the importance of clear and sincere communication to gain public support and help the audience understand the government’s intentions better.
Governor Otti cited examples from other nations, such as Angola and Senegal, where governments strategically retained subsidies on essential products for the benefit of the poor.
He advocated for a comprehensive policy framework to address the needs of the urban and rural poor, including measures like subsidised mass transit, cash transfers, food assistance, and low-interest agricultural loans.
The governor expressed concerns about the worsening living conditions for citizens due to the subsidy removal and called for the immediate implementation of robust policies to address rising poverty and unemployment.
In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Charles Igwe, praised Governor Otti’s achievements as a first-class economist, banker, and manager of resources.
He noted that the Founders’ Day lecture is reserved for individuals of uncommon achievements and highlighted Governor Otti’s status as an alumnus of the University who received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the institution.