By Jonathan Ugbal
The Inclusive Forum for Accountable Society, IFAS, a think-tank supported by Action Aid Nigeria, has urged the Cross River State Government to take measures to cushion the impact of the removal of subsidy on fuel by the Federal Government.
The forum made this call in a communique issued after its second quarterly meeting, where it discussed the challenges faced by the citizens following the subsidy removal announced by President Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023.
According to the communique, signed by members led by Mr. Josephat Ogar, the subsidy removal has resulted in an increase in transportation fares, which has affected the cost of goods and services.
The forum also noted that the bad road network in the state has forced many workers to trek long distances to work, affecting their productivity.
Moreover, the forum said that the use of private power generators has reduced as citizens cannot afford the cost of fuel, making them more dependent on the public power supply, which is often unreliable and inadequate.
Tracing the origin of the subsidy policy to the 1970s, when it was introduced by Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime to cushion the effect of the global “Great Inflation era” caused by a worldwide increase in energy prices, the forum recommended that the government should conduct “a feasibility study involving credible experts and professionals to ascertain the best policies and approach to the issues that come with subsidy removal.”
The forum also suggested that the State government should set up, “a decent mass public transportation system with proper bus stops and digital fare structures across the State.”
Furthermore, the forum called for an emergency repair of road gullies and a redesign of the roads to accommodate bicycle riders and pedestrians.
Additionally, the forum demanded the eradication of multiple and illegal levies in markets, a cut down on the cost of governance, including reducing the government convoy, and implementation of all procurement laws and policies to ensure accountability and probity in public service.