Recently, there have been intensive debates with Nigerians holding several positions about the removal of fuel subsidy.
There are those who claim that there is no subsidy and some say there is subsidy. Another group agrees with subsidy removal but says that the timing is wrong, while some say fuel subsidy should never be removed because it is the only thing Nigerians enjoy from their country.
Yet, another view is that the economics of subsidy removal makes sense but the government should first fight corruption. And the last position is that even though the main reapers of fuel subsidy, also known as the oil cabal or cartel, are financiers of President Goodluck Jonathan’s election, subsidy should be retained.
The different positions notwithstanding, all stakeholders seem to share a common view: there is an enormous fraud in the fuel subsidy business. The point of departure is on how to tackle this fraud to the benefit of the citizens, 70 per cent of whom live below the poverty line.
Given these scenarios, it is to be seen how far the government and Organised Labour would go in today’s negotiation. Will the negotiators leave the negotiation table smiling or will they storm out with frowning faces and returning to their battle trenches? Nigerians are waiting.