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IMF advice: APC chieftain warns Tinubu against removal of electricity subsidy

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Ibrahim Tajudeen Shola, the All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to take the advice by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to remove electricity subsidy, saying that the action would worsen the suffering of the poor masses and may lead to serious chaos in the country.

Shola issued this warning in an open letter to the president.

The IMF in its report entitled ‘IMF Executive Board Concludes Post Financing Assessment with Nigeria,’ reiterated the importance of eliminating the subsidies to redirect resources towards more targeted and impactful social welfare programmes.

“Temporary and targeted support to the most vulnerable in the form of social transfers is needed, given the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Fuel and electricity subsidies are costly, do not reach those that most need government support, and should be phased out completely,” it said.

Shola, however, argued that removing electricity subsidy would pose an unbearable burden on the already strained finances of ordinary Nigerians.

The open letter read in part, “In a country where a significant portion of the population lives below the poverty line, any increase in utility costs will directly impact the ability of families to afford basic necessities.

“With stagnant wages and rising inflation, the prospect of higher electricity bills is simply untenable for millions of households.

Moreover, the timing of such a proposal couldn’t be worse.

“Nigeria is already grappling with a myriad of economic challenges, including high unemployment rates, sluggish growth, and a depreciating currency.

“The removal of electricity subsidies would only serve to exacerbate these issues, further eroding purchasing power and deepening the economic hardship faced by the average citizen.

“Furthermore, the removal of subsidies on electricity is likely to ignite widespread social unrest and civil disobedience,” the letter warned.

Shola added that Nigerians were already frustrated and disillusioned with the government’s inability to provide essential services, and any further austerity measures are likely to push them to the breaking point.

“If the government has learnt anything from the unpopular and unrealistic policy of subsidy removals, it is that no good comes out from a population that is burdened by the weight of creating an enabling environment for their lives to make any sense.

“Recently, Nigerians took to the streets in Minna and Kano States, not to cheer the government over its magnificent handling of the economy but to sing one song: WE ARE HUNGRY. Hunger is not a good mix on the menu for a people whose very existence revolves around electricity and petrol,” he added.

The APC chieftain charged the present administration to ensure that those who divert funds meant for infrastructure development and modernization projects face the full wrath of the law.

“There must be transparency and accountability in the allocation of resources otherwise we will continue to undermine efforts to reform the sector,” he added.

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