" /> Editorial: Fuel price hike: FG should communicate better  | Hallmarknews
Published On: Sun, May 22nd, 2016

Editorial: Fuel price hike: FG should communicate better 

There is urgent need for the Federal government to improve its communication with the people on key issues.

This is perhaps a fundamental weakness of this administration, and nothing demonstrates this more than the cavalier manner the hike in pump price of petroleum products was announced without proper consultations with key stakeholders such as the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Nigerian people.

That ultimately the Federal government deregulated the downstream sector of the petroleum industry was a clear case that the government is finally getting its act together. In the circumstances, it was the best thing to do given the parlous state of the economy, dwindling revenues and the perpetual controversy around the subsidy in the first place.

The response of the organised labour in the opinion of this newspaper was staggered, not measured and well-thought out.  It should have consulted widely with all stakeholders, including government before giving the Federal government deadline to reverse it.

More importantly, it should have marshalled out alternatives, if any, to the government and use same to shore up its bargaining with the government. Many are not persuaded of the usefulness of a general strike as a weapon to fight government to reverse the new supply and pricing framework introduced for petroleum products penultimate week. Nor, for that matter, do they see much to be gained by a reversion to the status quo.

Key to the emerging perspective is that the discourse around the domestic economy’s outlook has apparently benefitted from a new awareness of the country’s currently huge revenue shortages, which has rendered governments at several levels incapable of meeting their wage bills and other crucial overheads; and, more importantly, recent revelations of the colossal corruption attendant upon the administration of fuel subsidy by previous administrations.

This recognition of the dire nature of the times complements a burgeoning belief in the anti-corruption crusade (albeit, not without its discontents) and the anti-profligacy stance of the Buhari administration.

READ  Don’t celebrate yet, agitation for restructuring not over- Uko warns presidency

Additionally, sections of the public have wondered at organised labour’s fixation on a silver bullet solution to national challenges with negative impact on workers’ welfare.

Most doubt that in our current situation, a general strike is not an optimum response to government’s preferred solution to one of the symptoms of a complex body of issues, involving the structural nature of Nigeria’s federalism.

The NLC may not have gauged the public mood and disposition properly – or maybe it thinks it can drag the public along – as it sets out on its action. With the availability of petrol and reasonable pricing an existential need for the greater number of Nigerians, typically evoking emotional responses, traditional calls by organised labour and its civil society collaborators to the barricades and to shut down the country over fuel price increases – in the past twenty instances, over thirty years – usually resonated well with the public.

This was largely due to widespread feelings of disillusionment with the federal government, generally considered corrupt and unaccountable, with poor management skills of the economy, seeking to take away affordable fuel as possibly the most important safety net left to the suffering people of Nigeria.

Business Hallmark believes that the organised labour may have misread the public disposition accurately; its protest seeks to feed into evident public irritation with a succession of ill-considered policies in the petroleum sector.

Yet, there has been recurrent public complaint – largely justified – that the Buhari government is one that barely communicates with Nigerians, even when seemingly acting with the best of intentions.

And, that a lot of its activities are largely opaque, if not out rightly shrouded in mystery, as in the instance of the administration’s anti-corruption programme’s recovery of stolen public assets, the extent of which Nigerians are still unaware of.

READ  Nigeria lacks leaders with moral compass - Amb Keshi

It is the stand of this newspaper that  the Buhari administration has not done well in the area of information management as a tool of galvanising national consensus in order to drive governance for optimum result.

The current brouhaha over hike and the response of labour is a warning parable of the future – as serving a very  potent  example of how things may go awry if the government does not start communicating its actions, policy directions and implementation regularly, clearly and coherently to the Nigerian public.

It is a sign of a huge disconnect between the Federal government and the public that such radical proclamation was to be made as the exacting removal of subsidy without prior sensitisation of the public and communication in a way that would clear all doubts. This has left a lot to be desired, forcing on Nigerians the sudden need to cope with skyrocketing food, transportation and alternative energy costs.

This is certainly at the core of the grouse of organised labour, whose proposal of a new minimum wage to reflect newer realities is still up for consideration.

This newspaper lauds the courage of the government in removing the subsidy, as it showed certain flexibility on the side of the government in recognising the inevitability of the prime place of the market in economic policies. Much as this was the most logical thing to do, it would not end there, as there’s need for the government to roll out a cushioning effects for the sake of the masses, especially in the areas of transportation and food security.

As the Federal government has done the right thing, we encourage her to go the whole hog to allow market forces in all other spheres in accordance with modern trend globally and best practices.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Recent posts

  • Nigeria lacks leaders with moral compass – Amb Keshi

    By Obinna Ezugwu Former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Joe Keshi has decried what he called the lack of moral compass among Nigeria’s political elite, noting that poor leadership was the country’s biggest challenge. Keshi who bared his mind in a chat with BusinessHallmark in his Lagos home recently, regretted that virtually all […]

  • Non Yoruba in S/West inaugurate forum, vow to take rightful place in zone’s politics

    By Obinna Ezugwu Political and cultural leaders of various ethnic groups resident in the South West, Saturday last week at Ota, Ogun State, came together under the aegis of Non Yoruba Indigenes Empowerment Initiative, to seek ways of working together for a fair deal in the zone’s polity ahead of the 2019 general election. Various […]

  • Don’t celebrate yet, agitation for restructuring not over- Uko warns presidency

    By Obinna Ezugwu Founder, Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and Secretary General, Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA), Evang Elliot Uko has warned against any suggestion that the South East geopolitical zone has been “forcefully” and “violently” pacified as according to him, such is false. Evang Uko who is also the Deputy Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought […]

  • Nigeria’s Debt Service ratio falls to 45%

    Nigeria has made significant improvement in its debt-service-to-revenue ratio as it dropped from 66 per cent to 45 per cent. This is coming on the back of improved revenue mobilisation from both domestic and foreign sources. The government has been aggressively driving its tax reform with the introduction of Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme […]

  • Banks’ NPLs reach 10-month high in Q3

    FELIX OLOYEDE Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) in the Nigerian banking industry hit 10-month in September, latest data from the the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has shown. The report quoted by CNBC states that NPLs in the Nigerian banking sector reached N2.42 trillion at the end of Q3 2017, which is 10-month record high. Muyiwa Oni, […]

  • OPEC Crude Output Drops to Six-Month Low

    Crude production from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries dropped again in November to a six-month low. Total production fell 80,000 barrels a day to 32.47 million a day last month, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts, oil companies and ship-tracking data. That was the lowest level since May, when output was 32.29 […]

  • Lagos revives abandoned waste to energy resourcing projects

    By ABATAN ADEWALE JOSEPH Lagos state government is exploring every available opportunity to ensure power supply in the state in view of the dwindling performance of the energy companies in the country. As the business and industrial hub of the economy, Lagos has suffered huge economic losses on account of poor power supply. Governor Akinwumi […]

  • FG appoints Abdul Zubair to replace suspended SEC DG

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday announced the appointment of Abdul Zubair as acting Director General. The commission while making the announcement, also reassured the investing public of continued stability of the Nigerian capital market following last week’s suspension of its Director General, Mounir Gwarzo. It would be recalled that Gwarzo was directed […]

  • Kano spends N9bn monthly on salary payment, says Ganduje

    The Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, has said his administration spends N9 billion monthly on payment of workers’ salaries. He added that this effort was commendable in a period where most state governments have not been able to pay salaries as a result of the economic situation in the country. He spoke  in Kano state […]

  • FG’s Npower scheme derailing, faces imminent collapse – Investigation

    By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA The N-Power scheme, introduced by the Federal Government, as a social safety net to reduce the rate of graduate unemployment afflicting the country, is fast derailing from its original objective, and faces imminent collapse, Business Hallmark findings have revealed. While the Federal Government, particularly its major proponent, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had […]

  • Gwarzo: The many troubles of a regulator

      By FELIX OLOYEDE These are unpleasant times for Mounir Gwarzo, Chief Executive Office, of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as he was placed on suspension last week by a previously gun shy Minister of finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun. Gwarzo’s position as SEC boss became shaky as a nongovernmental organisation,   Centre for Anti-Corruption and […]

  • 2018 budget: High on hope, low on prospects

      .           Promises of growth and development may be unattainable The 2018 budget will go down in history as the most vilified and repudiated by the legislature that is supposed to give it a stamp of authority. Last week, the two chambers of the National Assembly took a perfunctory appraisal of the budget and consigned […]

  • Anxiety rises over health of banks

    …as recent Fitch downgrade poses new questions BY TESLIM SHITTA-BEY All may not be as well with Nigerian banks as the domestic regulator, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), would have many believe. Buried in a heap of poor quality loan assets in the guise of high none performing loans (NPL’s), a growing number of banks […]

  • Maina’s can of worms

    By OBINNA EZUGWU At the hearing conducted by the Hon. Aliyu Madaki-led House of Representatives adhoc committee investigating the reinstatement of former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina into the federal civil service last week, Nigerians were treated to a show of childish buck-passing. One could draw a parallel between […]

  • Resurgent Equity market signals stronger economic recovery

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU Investors in the Nigerian equity market have every reason to be happy as the year gradually winds down. Those of who invested early in the year and carefully mixed their portfolio based on the NSE 30 Index would have made a kill should the market close bullish. This is reflected in the […]

  • (Editorial) APGA, a future in jeopardy  

    The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) fought a good fight to retain power in Anambra state last month. Should the result have been different, and it easily could have been, it would have marked the beginning of the end for the party. Power of incumbency, emotional attachment to APGA among the Igbo, rifts within the […]


Visit us on Google+