VEHICLE Owners Association of Nigeria, VOAN
has said it is saddened by the sudden and unilateral
decision by the Federal Government to remove
petroleum subsidy contrary to the campaign
promise and without any palliative measure first
put in place given the socio-economic hardship
being experienced in the country currently.
In a statement issued by its national president,
Hon Odo Vincent Okoko last night, VOAN
recalled that the prevalent scarcity of fuel products
especially petrol nation-wide which has adversely
affected its members across the country coupled
with the contentious electricity tariff increase
should be enough worries for ordinary Nigerians
than adding salt upon injury by government that
campaigned on the mantra of change.
Adding that the new fuel price regime was
regrettable, the group called for immediate reversal
of the decision even as it enjoined President
Muhammadu Buhari to urgently summon a
stakeholders meeting in other to find a lasting
solution to the energy crisis instead of resorting to
piece-meal approach in solving the problem.
“The stakeholders meeting are desirable in this
democratic system in order to carry everyone along
through their various representatives including the
NLC, Civil Society groups and particularly groups
in the transport and automobile sectors like ours.
“In as much as we have confidence in the
competency of the Buhari-led economic team
to lead us out of this logjam, we believe that
by creating an opportunity for all the relevant
stakeholders to make meaningful inputs or given a
detail brief of Government’s action plans would go
a long way to reduce the resistance of the masses
to Government policies and programs which could
be misinterpreted as despotic and undemocratic
when imposed on the people without their input and buy-in.
:Mr. President we know, is experienced
enough to know that Government in a
democratic settings cannot swing things
alone in matters that touch the very source of
livelihood of the people without reaching out
to them through their various representatives
for proper sensitization and buy-in no matter
how noble the policy is. Cooperation, respect
and open-door policy is essential with the
masses through their representatives and
the general civil society groups to overt civil
strife and labour unrest especially in an issue
as sensitive as the fuel subsidy,” VOAN
stressed.
It added too that for the subsidy removal
to be completely accepted by the masses,
infrastructures, people-oriented policies and
palliatives should not only be put together
in a master plan to be implemented ahead
of the subsidy removal so that the negative
effect on the masses would be cushioned.
“Palliatives such as the N5,000 token
for vulnerable Nigerians, the proposed
minimum wage of N52,000 by the Labour,
optimizing our local refining capacity,
providing interest free loan for transporters
and other incentives that could absolve the
impact of such removal while we expect
proper Government monitoring of the postremoval
regime to ensure that no one or
institution abuse or take undue advantage
of the development to scuttle the expected
market-determined stability of the new oil
market reality,” VOAN also stated.
By the statement, VOAN said it was
aligning itself with the NLC, TUC and other
organized civil society groups and call on all
vehicle owners to “warm up as we prepare to
resist the increase


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