The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Peter Obi, has criticised the current government’s dependence on oil subsidy.
Obi, who spoke in the ongoing vice presidential debate at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, said prices would come down if subsidy was done away with.
He said, “What we are subsiding today is inefficiency. If you get it right, the prices still come down. There is no way a country can have a budget of N340bn for health, which translates to N5 a day for (each of) its citizens, and then pay a trillion for subsidy.
“There is no way you can have an education budget, which is the most critical component of the development at over N400bn and you’re paying subsidy of a trillion. It is a waste. You need to reverse it because you’re not dealing with the engine that will drive your economy tomorrow.”
According to Obi, everybody knows that a petroleum-driven economy is a baggage economy.
The PDP candidate added that at a time people were developing a new economy, the current administration was not paying attention.
He said, “Why are you actually subsiding? Nigeria has one of the lowest car ownerships in the world. It is 10 (cars) per 1,000 (citizens).
“So, we have only two million vehicles and you’re paying almost a trillion when you have 87 million people that are poor. You can’t do that. You need to reverse it and, I can tell you, if you do the right things, the price will come down.
“You are just paying for the delay in importation, the number of time cargos stay in the ports and so on. We can’t continue to pay for inefficiency in this country. I can tell that if you can remove it and do the right things, the price of petroleum will come down.”