Tinubu Says Unification Exchange Rates, Subsidy Removal Will Save Nigeria From Financial Haemorrphage; 89 Professional Bodies And Councils Lose FG Budgetary Allocation  

By Late Adegbite

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and now President and Commander –In-Chief of the Ngerian Armed Forces, appears to have taken advantage  of  a reception  organised in his honour  by the Lagos state government  at the Lagos House , Marina , to  speak out  on why  he opted ‘’to unify  the official and parallel  market rates and remove  subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol, at the early stages of his administration’’.

The outspoken Lagos state born Nigerian President  may have indicted the past Nigerian Leaders, both the jackboot and elected, of sharing in the benefit  by participating in the arbitrage when said that he  could not afford ‘’ to share  such a benefit but to save the country  from financial  haemorrhage’’.

The former Lagos state governor was said to have made it clear to those that cares that ’’the economic decisions taken so far by his Administration will ‘’reform the country’s economy and remove all impediments of growth’’. He has admitted that the country is going through some rough challenges, particular, ‘’the struggling economy and simmering security challenges’’, stressing that they are not unsurmountable

He opined that his Administration decided to stop the immediate payment of subsidy on petrol in the nation’s best interest. Tinubu, who stopped short at calling the marketers economic saboteurs when he stated that the situation that forced queues to return filling stations across the major parts of the country is over.

the government was said to have approved the issuance of licenses to six new companies to import Petroleum Products into the country, as a way to break the monopoly of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, now baptized Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPC, with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by the National Assembly, which has been signed into Law, in August 2021, by the former Katsina state born Nigerian President.

Farouk Ahmed,  Managing Director,   of Nigeria Mainstream  and Downstream  Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDRA,  had said that  apart from  the newly  approved six firms, by the Tinubu’s government  to compete with NNPCL, in the importation of PMS, and other products ,into the country , several companies had applied  for permit  to be involved in the importation of petroleum products  into the Nigerian market in due course.

Farouk, the NMDRA, helmsman had said that the newly approved six companies which have been given approval by the government to import fuel   has expressed their willingness to tart full scale importation of products in July 2023, meaning that they have been able to have access the North American country of the United States, US, dollar, which was the exclusive preserve of the NNPCL, in the past.  

Recall that in 2016,  Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Industries, believed to be the richest man in the African Continent  was said to have gotten $2billion  allocation from the Central Bank of Nigeria , CBN, under Godwin  Emefiele,  the then governor, who is  now in the custody of the Department of State Security, DSS,    by processing Form A’  to import intangible goods.

He was said to have got the US dollars allocation from the apex bank at the cheapest rate, allegedly moved it out of the country to buy equipment to establish factories in other African countries.  The multi-billionaire business mongul and others like him were alleged to have simply round-tripped the US, dollars gotten from the CB, and made several more billions of dollars from it. 

  The Dangote Industries was said to have used the multi-billionaire connections to  borrow  $3billion  from the CBN, to build a 650,000 b/d capacity , refinery and petrochemical plant  at the Lekki Free  Trade  Zone, LFTZ, in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre which evidently  cost $3.8 billion  to build, according  to The Value News findings .  The Dangote refinery and petrochemical plant has been valued to have cost about $14 billion during the Commissioning    by the former Nigerian President in May 22, 2023, barely one week to handover to the incoming government of Tinubu of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. 

 The worry of many was that the trio of the then Katsina state born Nigerian President, Mele Kolo Kyari, Mananaging Director of NNPCL, and the erstwhile CBN , governor,    did not find   it find it necessary to pump enough  forex to rehabilitate  the country’s four   refineries located at Onne,near PortHarcourt , the Rivers state Capital,  Warri and Kaduna which are working in bits and fits but opted to buy 20% shares  valued at about  $2.2.65 billion  in  the Dangote’s refineries that was only 80% completed as at the time  of Commissioning last May.

The World Bank, which has been at the vanguard for the removal of subsidy on PMS, importation into the country by NNPCL, and the unification of the exchange rates, since 2015, until it was finally removed by the Tinubu’s Administration on May 29, 2023,  has projected  that the country  would achieve estimated   fiscal gains of about N4 trillion  this 2023. The bank may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when it stated further that the fiscal gains   are projected to hit the N21 trillion mark between this 2023 and 2025.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari

Notwithstanding, the appluase  inubu’s Administration have continued to receive both within and outside the country and even among the Multilateral Financial Institutions  with the removal of the subsidy on Petrol and the  unification of the country’s multiple exchange system, Shehu Garba, a former Senior Special Assistant to Buhari, on Media and Publicity, appears to be  uncomfortable  that Tinubu is getting al all the commendations  for taking the bold economic decisions in n the early stage of Administration whereas, Buhari could not do it within the eight years in office.

In an emotional outburst, the Buhari Aide, had lamented that ‘’no responsible Leader would have removed the fuel subsidy  forcefully the way  the former Lagos state governor  has done it  to add to the economic pains  of the people.

According to him the former Nigerian President   has the opportunity of removing the subsidy on petrol as he did  on Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, popular, diesel, Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK or Kerosene, Aviation fuel and Fertilizer,  as well as the unification of the  exchange rates  which touches  the life of many  but remained hesitant to do so until the time is ripe for it.

There was no gain saying the fact that the inability of the immediate past Nigerian President to take the bull by the horn to remove the subsidy on fuel importation into the country and the unification of the country’s multiple exchange rates ostensibly to avoid stepping on the toes of a powerful cabal controlling the nation’s economy was a dent on the Administration.

Subhan Chadhuri, the World Bank, country Director, in Nigerian , may have summed up the implications of  the Buhari’s Administration not unifying the country’s exchange rates  by the Buhari’s Administration  to the fact that ‘’it  impeded investment  and growth  in the nation’s economy’’  as well as ’’contributed  to inflation  and undermined  efficiency  of monetary  and fiscal policies for his eight years in office’’.

  The former Lagos state governor, who is not yet done with the economic reforms has vowed that his Administration will bring Nigeria out from’’ the brink of resilient economy’’. Speaking philosophically, he has urged Nigerians to partner with his Administration to rescue the country from financial haemorrphage and make it a’’ born-again nation’’.  

Appealing to Nigerians in Diaspora, to be patriotic   and restore their confidenceto Nigeria, he averred that ‘’ the country will go through the baby steps of faith to arrive at a positive destination’’   as the new government’’ move along’’.

Femi Gbajiabiamila, a former Speaker, House of Representatives and now Chief of Staff, to President Tinubu,  had said that’’ the weight of Nigeria  cannot be carried by an ordinary  human being  without Divine’s intervention’’, stressing ‘’the country  will  overcome  the current  difficult economic and security challenges   under the present Leadership of Tinubu and  his team.

He may have alluded to the fact that Tinubu is working day and  night  to solve  the myriads of challenges  facing the country when he gave an insight of the major economic decisions taken by the Administration so far.

Peter Obi: LP, Presidential Candidate, During The February 25, 2023, Presidential Election Urges Tinubu To Cut Cost Of Governance

In a related development, Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and Presidential Candidate of the Opposition Labour Party, LP, during the February  25, 2023,  Presidential election , would want Tinubu, to do  more to save Nigeria from financial dehydration by  ‘’drastically cutting  down on the cost of governance at the  at the Federal level, and invest  in different aspects  of human development  that would improve  the life of the people.

Until the former Anambra state governor  volunteered  to give the unsolicited  advice  to Tinubu,   who is  slugging out with him at the Presidential Election Tribunal, PECT,   over the 2023, Presidential election alleged to have been  rigged  and manipulated  by the ruling APC,  in connivance  with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, under the Chairmanship of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Tinubu was said to have risen up to the  challenge.

  The Budget office of the Federation, at the instance of the President   was said to have sent a memo, to the 89 Professional bodies and Councils funded by the Federal government that it will no longer be business as usual in order to start looking for ways   on how ‘’to become self- funding without going cap in hand begging the government for support.

Ben Akubueze,  Director General  of the Budget office  of the Federation,   in a letter   sent  to the over  80 affected  Professional bodies and Councils , dated June  26, 2023, had said that  ‘’the move  was in line  with the decision  of the Presidential Committee On Salaries, PCS.

 The Budget office  Director General  had confirmed that  30 of  the Professional bodies  and Councils  will stop  getting budgetary allocations  from the government  by December 31, 2024 while the other affected  professional bodies and Councils  would stop getting their own subventions from the government by  December 31, 2026.

 Some of the Professional bodies and Councils  which funding  are expected to be terminated by the Tinubu’s Administration by December 31, 2024, include  Nigeria Press Council, NPC;  Advertising  Regulatory Council  of Nigeria, ARCON; Veterinary Council of Nigeria; Nigerian Institute of Soil Science, NISS, Headquarters;  Agricultural Research  Council of Nigeria; Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria; Council  For the  Regulation of  Freight Forwarding Council of Nigeria,CRFF; Council  of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscience; Survey Council of Nigeria; Council  for the Regulation of Engineering  in Nigeria, COREN; Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria; Computer Registration Council of Nigeria and Librarians Registration Council of Nigeria.

This is in addition to the  Radiographers Registration Board; Health Records Registration Board ;  Institute  of Chartered Chemist of Nigeria; Nursing and Midwifery Council;  Pharmacist Council of Nigeria;  Medical And Dental Council of Nigeria;  National Council on Climate Change and Dental Technologies Registration Board, among others.

 The Professional bodies and Councils that may stop getting budgetary allocations from the government by while the National Council of Arts and Culture will stop getting the government subventions by December 31, 2025, according to Akubueze, the Director General, Budget office of the Federation was the National Council of Arts and Culture   while the Nigerian Council Food Science and technology will no longer be funded from the government treasury from December 31, 2026.              

 There is no gain saying the fact that some of these professional bodies and Councils, have remained a drain- pipe on the country’s meagre resources over the years, without generating any revenue to be paid into the Federation Account.        

Akubueze, an informed source had told the online Magazine has told Management of the affected Professional bodies and Councils that given the government decision  not to make any yearly  budgetary allocations  to them  between 2024 and December 31, 2026,   that  ‘’ they will be regarded  as self –funded Organisation by the  government   ‘’to be fully responsible  for their  personnel,  overhead costs  and capital expenditures’’.

Many see this economic decision as another bold initiative by the Tinubu’s Administration to drastically cut the cost of governance and save money for the government that would be channeled to the Educational and Health sectors of the economy.

Funny enough, the Council for Legal Education, and Environment Health Teachers Tutors –Ibadan,  were said to have escaped Tinubu’s cost saving hammer  as the two Organisations , Akubueze, the Director General, Budget office of the Federation, Confirmed,  will continue be funded  by the Federal government.   

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