Subsidy removal: FCT residents want govt to increase purchasing power of workers


By Aluta News

Dec 17, 2023

As the removal of fuel subsidy continues to negatively impact Nigerians, residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) say there is a need for government to increase their purchasing power.

The residents said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

Some residents said most of their income was spent on buying fuel, leaving them with very little to meet other needs.

NAN reports that President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy on May 29 while delivering his inaugural speech.

After the president made the announcement, the price of petrol shot up from N195 per litre and currently sells for between N637 and N660.

The recent Petrol Price Watch for October 2023 released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the average retail price of a litre of petrol increased from N195.29 in October 2022 to N630.63 in October 2023.

The NBS said the October 2023 price of N630.63 represented a 222.92 per cent increase over the price of N195.29 recorded in October 2022.

The increase in the price of petrol has caused a hike in the prices of food items, transportation, and goods and services across the country.

Joanna Madu, a public servant said the removal of subsidy was consuming most of her salary which had become insufficient, describing the situation as unsustainable.

“It has not been easy with the removal of fuel subsidy. Before the removal, N5, 000 fuel could last me for three days but now that N5, 000 is like buying N1,000 fuel.

“So for two days, I need to buy N12,000 fuel. By the time I come from Karu to town, and do some moving around, I need to buy fuel the next day. This is not sustainable.

“It is not like the salary of government workers has increased. Fuel subsidy has made it so that my salary is not enough for me, and fuel is consuming almost all my salary.

“The government needs to do something. Nigerians are really suffering, everywhere you go people are complaining and it has affected the price of everything,” she said.

Tinuke Afolabi, a civil servant said the removal of fuel subsidy had made it impossible for her to save and afford some of her needs

Afolabi said the government needed to increase the salaries of workers as a way to alleviate the impact of the fuel subsidy removal.

“I earn N140,000 monthly and I use almost N80,000 to buy fuel in a month. What is left for me to save after buying food which is on the increase every day, and paying for light, water, and other bills.

“I am surviving by the grace of God. One cannot even live a good life anymore because the quality of the lives of Nigerians is deteriorating.

“People cannot afford to buy good food. This festive season will be dry for many Nigerians,” she said

Mr Emma Attah, a public servant, said the removal of fuel subsidy was having a psychological impact on relationships.

Attah said that the government needed to increase the purchasing power of Nigerians by indexing the salaries of workers, that is increasing their salaries.

“People are so frustrated that they have to pay double for commercial transport that they are not even considering the driver who needs to buy the fuel at such a high rate.

“Imagine a family of five, like mine, I have water, electricity, and health bills; there are school fees, house rent, and most importantly feeding costs. How does one cope after spending almost all the income on just fuel?

“In other countries of the world, when prices increase, the government indexes the salaries of workers, that is, increases the salaries of workers.

” In Nigeria where there is serious inflation, the government is supposed to increase the salaries of workers to align with the present reality caused by subsidy removal.

He said the government needed to be sensitive to the plight of citizens and ensure the welfare of Nigerians.

“It is not about palliatives, after using palliatives for a few days, what happens next?

“Government should increase the purchasing power and index the salaries of Nigerians so our quality of life does not continue to nose dive,” he said.

Ngozi  John, a trader, who said the removal of fuel subsidy had affected the prices of food items, added that many of her customers could not afford to buy in large quantities.

“Before, some of my customers would buy in baskets, or mudus now they say they cannot afford it. So they buy a half basket, half mudu while some buy in very little quantity.

“I thought with the festive season, sales would be better but it is not so. My customers are complaining that there is no money. The whole thing is affecting all of us, she said. ”

Francis Chukwuma said the removal of the subsidy had affected his business and made him adjust his budget on other items.

“The removal of the fuel subsidy made me adjust a lot of things so that I can fuel my car, any budget I am doing is fuel that is the priority.

“It is affecting me but I cannot do without fuel. I need my car to move around because of the nature of my work and to fuel my generator in the office because of the poor power situation in my area.

“The little profit I make I use most of it for fuel, so I have little to take home to my family for other expenses. We know the prices of everything have gone up, especially food which is on a steady increase.

“This situation with the subsidy cannot be sustained, Nigerians are barely surviving, the government should put things in place, like cheaper transport, and ensure there is power for businesses to operate.

“Imagine people paying so much to transport themselves to work and when they get to work, no light to work, no money to buy fuel, It is disheartening, ” he said.

Nancy Benjamin, a retired civil servant, said retirees have been suffering for a long time and the removal of fuel subsidy had only worsened their plight.

Benjamin said many retirees could not afford to treat themselves when they had health issues leading to the death of many of them

She called on the government to be more sympathetic to retirees plight having served the country for years.

“In developed countries, the welfare of the retired and elderly are taken care of. Why can’t the government look into our welfare? The government can give us subsidised health care and free transportation.

“These are things that can help us so we can channel our pension to things like feeding, as the cost of food items also is on the increase. Many retirees still have children in school too,” she said.


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