Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) says the Nigerian government is acting in the reverse direction in the face of the COVID-19 crisis in the country.
While governments around the world continue to explore and implement reliefs for their citizens affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that the Nigerian government is acting in the reverse direction’’, PLAC says on its website.
According to the group, ‘’since the beginning of gradual easing of the lockdown restrictions, government and its agencies in Nigeria have hiked prices and increased taxes to the consternation of the citizenry, groaning under the yoke of shut down businesses, decreased or disappearing income and general economic downturn.’’
Founded in 2009, PLAC is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit capacity-building organisation that works to strengthen democratic governance and citizens’ participation in Nigeria.
Through broad-based technical assistance and training, PLAC works to promote citizens’ engagement with government institutions and to advocate for legal and policy reforms and promote transparency and accountability in policy and decision-making processes.
At the core of its programming is a deep commitment to increase legislative advocacy, promote transparency and good governance, support and promote electoral reforms, enhance citizen’s access to public policies and advance anti-corruption campaigns.
The group has worked and evolved into a foremost and leading institution with capacity to deliver cutting-edge research, policy analysis and advocacy.
Continuing, it says the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) after initially postponing a nearly 30 per cent hike in electricity cost, has finally authorised the electricity distribution companies to implement astronomical tariff prices beginning September 1.
‘’The government has also announced a hike in petrol prices from a range of N145 and N148 to a range of N157 and N162, to begin the implementation of what it calls final subsidy removal.
‘’Several other prices have been hiked by government agencies providing services to citizens in a manner suggesting competition among these agencies as to who is the latest to do so.
‘’Citizens are in severe economic crisis, resulting from a general collapse in their businesses and income, with a government that has shown absolutely no care in providing relief for them’’, PLAC says.
In response to public outcry, the Minister of Petroleum, Timipre Sylva described the increase in petrol price as an “inevitable decision” on the part of the Federal Government, as it will no longer be fixing pump prices.
He further stated that deregulation of the sector was imperative for the growth of the economy. Sylva also noted that the government can no longer fund fuel subsidy in the light of its dwindling revenue generation, occasioned by a drop in Nigeria’s crude oil production rate to 1.412 million barrels per day.
President Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, and other members of the Buhari circles have continued to laud the removal of fuel subsidy and describe the increase in petrol prices as a long-overdue development that is instrumental to economic development.