The subsidies are gone. The subsidies on PMS at least. Cue the expected panic and protests. What exactly should we fight for during these protests? Or what exactly should YOU fight for since I won’t physically be on the streets.
Should we fight for a return to N65 per litre? No. The simple option facing the government is to spend N1.x tn on the fuel subsidies or on infrastructure. The answer is really simple. Spending on infrastructure has a multiplicative effect on the economy. The effect of a new three lane highway between Abuja and Lagos, for example, outweigh any possible benefits of the fuel subsidy. Yes there is a direct immediate effect on income which is felt most by the poor and figuring how to alleviate that is important. A return to N65 won’t achieve that.
What should we fight for? For starters we need to fight to ensure that the saving actually goes to infrastructure and not salaries or some other meaningless government program. The SURE document outlines a couple of these plans but strict timelines need to be stated. Secondly we need to force the government to cut some of its own trivial spending. A certain food budget perhaps. Finally we need to make it clear that if these infrastructure projects do not materialize the current administration will be voted out come 2015.
These are the things that I believe we should fight for. The opportunity is there to change things. We can change for the better or worse. Returning to the status quo should not be an option