The Subsidy Crises: A Way Forward (The Nigerian Front)

We have taken stock of the grave national crises we face and we of The Nigerian Front, after a process of consultation and reflection, have come up with a roadmap to provide some solutions for the nation. We hope these detailed solutions will be considered and acted upon by the President, his advisers and the National Assembly. We see these proposals as a way forward out of the present stalemate.

The solutions are detailed as follows:
That the removal of petrol subsidy be immediately suspended whilst a process of re-examining the 2012 budget is immediately commenced.

* That the 2012 budget be comprehensively revised based on an audit of the 2011 budget, determining from it its performance and non-performance. That the EFCC/ICPC using forensic examiners be involved in this process;
* That the government reduces the recurrent expenditure in the budget to 25% and this should be enshrined in law;
* That the revision of the 2012 budget should take place to ensure it is balanced; and this should be done through the following steps:

1. That number of ministries and ministers at the federal level be rationalised to an affordable level bearing in mind the need for a constitutional amendment to reduce the number;

2. That the number of government agencies/parastatals be reviewed and their usefulness be identified and the redundant ones eliminated;

3. That the number of Special Advisers at the Presidency be reduced to reflect the new spirit of austerity;

4. That the Special Assistants allocated to ministers be limited to two;

5. That all allowances currently contained in the remuneration of government officials be removed.

* That the government ceases the practice of using the Federal Executive Council meetings as a forum for adjudicating upon every detailed contract of government that these role should rest with the Budget Office of The Federation;
* That all government agencies such as the FRIS, NNPC, Customs, Immigration, Nigerian Ports Authority, Federal Airports Authority etc. be given revenue raising targets in the 2012 budget;
* That President commences of a process of selling off excess government assets;
* That the convention of executive’s security votes be abolished;
* That all the savings from this process be paid in to a special escrow account;
* That the government ensures as a matter of priority that that the EFCC/ICPCC investigates the abuse of the subsidy issue and brings to book those implicated;
* That a comprehensive reform of the Judiciary be undertaken and adequate resources be provided to motivate them to treat these economic crimes with the uttermost of priority;
* That the government re-energise and re-commence the war on corruption;
* That the President should forward a proposal for the constitutional amendment to make the National Assembly a unicameral legislature.

We propose that only after these steps have been implemented should the issue of subsidy removal be revisited and in negotiation with the Labour sector. The proposals detailed above will require monitoring and we call upon the government to set up a committee, which includes a representative from Labour, Academia, Industry, Judiciary and Business.

We conclude by stating that:
“In moments of great challenge exists an even greater opportunity for us and for our nation. We must construct a vision for Nigeria rooted in values that can make our nation the last best hope of Earth – values that are anchored upon fairness, opportunity, the respect we have for and the responsibilities we have to one another. We must construct a belief in a Nigeria where good jobs are there for the willing, where hard work is rewarded with decent living, and where we recognize the fundamental truth that the politicians in Abuja cannot prosper with stupendous allowances while other parts of Nigeria crumbles with poverty – that a successful democratic, polity must deliver a sound economy with thriving businesses and flourishing families.”

THE NIGERIAN FRONT

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