*says it will further aggravate sufferings
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), and the presiding Bishop of The Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Francis Wale Oke on Sunday advised the Federal Government to reconsider its proposed plan to remove subsidy on petrol production come 2022.
The PFN President in a statement in Ibadan said the planned subsidy removal will further aggravate the suffering of Nigerians by leading to hike in the price of petroleum and that the implementation of such policy could increase the hardship currently being experienced by Nigerians .
Specifically, the PFN President asked the Federal government to be wary of policies that could jeopardize the conduct of the 2023 general elections as all hands must be geared towards steering the wheel of the country to a safety berth.
” If the proposed subsidy removal is effected, it would heighten the hardship of the people of the nation. Everybody will feel it, particularly the less privileged. The negative effects will surely outweigh the positive. The cost of transportation for human and goods across the country, will skyrocket and other things connected which will have a spiral effect on general living standard of the populace; the suffering will be multi-dimensional”, he said.
Bishop Wale Oke added, ” please, let all stakeholders be sensitive to this avoidable path and do the needful. By whatever means, let the Federal Government put its heart into ensuring that our refineries are back to life. In addition,in order to stem the rising cost of living, farmers and others connected to them should be encouraged”.
” This is what can help our economy. An increase in the price of petroleum from its present N165 to N340 per litre, can trigger tension and crises in the country which in turn can paralyse our economy if not handled with utmost care”
Lamenting that the situation in the country has become worrisome as a result of the reduction in the purchasing power of Nigerians caused by the continuous fall in the value of the nation’s currency at the exchange market, the PFN President urged the government to do all it could to revive the four ailing refineries in the country, with a view to ensuring they operate at optimal level for a lasting benefit, for the country and its people.
Assuring that PFN would always support policies that would enhance good governance and, he tasked the government to put in place tangible palliative measures that could ameliorate the hardship being experienced, saying,” without begging the issue,there should be well defined palliative measures in place that can cushion the effect of the hardship being experienced by Nigerians, especially the commoners. One is not talking about political palliatives that never last. We have seen enough of such”.
On the proposed N5000 to about 40 million poor Nigerians, the PFN President stressed, “again, the planned introduction of N5,000 for 40 million poor Nigerians, is to create a cesspool of corruption. How do you define ‘the poor? They, mostly,don’t use telephones. They, mostly, don’t have bank accounts. How will the money get to them?”
Bishop Wale Oke pointed out that as a panacea to the rising cost of food items, farmers and relevant stakeholders in the country should be empowered with relevant tools and funds through loans with little interest.
He then implored the government not to relent in its efforts at ensuring that security challenges in the country become a thing of the past.