12, May, 2016.
FUEL SUBSIDY REMOVAL: FG’S INTENTION MAY BE GOOD, BUT TIMING AND MANNERISM FANTASTICALLY WRONG. --CENGSSUD
The Centre for Global Solutions and Sustainable Development (CENGSSUD), strongly frowns at the level of insensitivity and poor mannerism displayed by the Federal Government of Nigeria towards the sudden removal of the pump price of petrol from N86.50 to N145 of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol.
Despite the fact that we are not unaware of the long-term economic benefits and gains through the removal of subsidy, and the moves to block financial insanities, recklessness and looting by the few Cabals in sucking the nation’s treasury dry which at the end always reduce the government’s financial ability and capability to engage in robust developmental projects, yet we condemn the timing and the manner of removal.
Fuel Subsidy is one of the most sensitive and controversial issues in Nigeria and if must be removed, must not be something sudden and done in isolation. The manner in which the federal government hits the heart of Nigerians with breaking news on policies or actions that will have immediate negative impacts on their lives without wild consultations and adequate public enlightenment and education to sensitize the masses, or get prepared for adjustment where necessary is highly condemnable.
It is important at this point to remind the Federal Government that there are three (3) faces to development, the Government, the Private Sector and the Civil Society. It is unacceptable for government to take actions without carrying along the other two sectors especially the Civil Society organization that are the last hope of the common man, in fact, development is incomplete without the input from the Civil Society.
At a time Nigerians are still very shock and finding it difficult to cope with the recent imposition of the cruel, criminal and unjustifiable electricity tariff which has made Nigerians to pay more for darkness and services not rendered, a time where the inflation in the country has risen from single to double digits as a result of the harsh and unfavourable Forex policies and other short-sighted economic policies, a time where companies finding it difficult to cope with operations and laying-off workers due to economic realities, a time when the standard of living of Nigerians reducing and income insufficient, a time when more people are drawn into the pool of poverty and hunger due to the unexplainable situations, the Government should rather thing of urgent fixes to salvage those situations than adding to the suffering of the masses.
We also frown at the FG’s price fixing of N145, as we are yet to know what yardstick or logic the government used to arrive at this figure. It is also contradictory for FGN to remove subsidy and also be fixing the pump price at the same time. Will NNPC equally be selling at N145, despite refining our natural God’s gifted resources locally without Forex or going to the parallel market other marketers will be going?
We hereby call the government to immediately do the needful and return things to the status quo
As subsidy is very a sensitive issue, and not something government can tamper or play with without putting various structures and palliatives in place.
If the government cannot be quick to increase the minimum wage of workers, fix the forex, electricity, security, unemployment, economic challenges etc, should not be also quick to remove the subsidy.
Executive Director, CENGSSUD
04 February 2016.
CENGSSUD Condemn the recent N50 stamp duty imposed by FG and call for the immediate review of the controversial policy.
The Centre for Global Solutions and Sustainable Development (CENGSSUD), strongly condemn the outrageous N50 stamp duty which the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, imposed on Nigerians for money received into their accounts. The order, if not reviewed, would not only worsen the poverty level in the country, it would also, increase the burden on businesses and promotes inequality.
While we sympathise with the Federal government on the unstable economic situation it has found itself, and its efforts to boost its revenue base, by exploring revenue opportunities in the non-oil sectors especially through taxes and rates, the government should equally remember at all times that the people’s interest is paramount and should come first.
It is truism that there is no issue about the legality of this measure as it is backed by the Stamp Duty Act (2004), but there are concerns about its morality, timing and appropriateness at this moment when many Nigerians are already under terrible financial pressures, the implementation is an unfortunate flagrant disregard to the public outcry.
A time like this when many Nigerians have not recovered from the drastic increase in dollar rate which as at today amounts to N307 to $1, and in return has caused inflation in the country on all items, a time when the poor are still lamenting for the recent increase in price of electricity and kerosene, A time when the masses are complaining about multiple taxation, A time when the recent CBN Forex policy and restrictions which has made it difficult for individuals and businesses to carry out in international transactions with adverse effects and also made it difficult for parents to send their children to school abroad, A time when the United Nations have resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and inequality through the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) which the FGN is a party to, so why has the government been so insensitive to these current pitiable situations of the people?
We are not unaware of the fact that the government is imposing this policy towards making-up for the funding deficit in the proposed national budget especially on revenue prediction on an oil benchmark of 38 dollars per barrel which as at today has fallen to 27 dollars and has made the budget to be unrealistic. The fact remains that the budget already has some luxury and wasteful expenditures which the government should immediately review. Asking poor Nigerians to pay for the luxury in the budget is commensurate to collecting money from Peter to pay Paul and also asking them to pay for sins not committed. There are scandalous expenditures in the budget which cannot be justified. For example:
How do we explain the proposed N3.8 billion as capital spending for Aso Rock’s Clinic alone, when the capital spending for about 16 Federal teaching hospitals are not up to the N3.8 billion Figure?
How do we explain N585 million and N415 Million which totaled N1 billion for the purchase of chairs and table respectively for Ministry of Communications and Technology headquarters?
How do we explain N6.74 billion budgeted for the Senate President residence spending on consultancy services, liability and construction?
How do we explain N795 million for the update and maintenance of the website of a single ministry?
How do we explain a budget that increases domestic spending and feeding within Aso Villa from N580 million in 2015 to N1.7 billion in 2016?
How do we explain a situation where Nigeria’s lawmakers are the largest earners in the world even ahead of UK and America?
All these questions are already highly worrisome and the masses shouldn’t be funding the political luxury. One major concern about the Stamp Duty is that it amounts to double taxation because banks are already charging customers for various transactions.
The same Nigerians after paying N50 for stamp duty on deposit above N1000 received in their accounts, pay N4 for receiving alert of payment received, pay N65, for the fourth ATM withdrawal in a month, also pay 5% VAT on goods and services, even the average workers from the private sector through their salaries pay taxes etc
The policy is a recipe for killing banking habit which equally negates the cashless policy, as this imposition will make people to prefer cash transactions than through the banking channels.
The policy even promotes inequality which is against the Goal 10, targets 10.2, 10.3, 10.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A situation where a poor man that receives N1000 in his account pays the same amount of N50 stamp duty as a rich man who receives N100 Million in his account, the policy will continue to make the rich become richer and poor become poorer. The policy does not even exempt the savings account as widely speculated by some quarters, as the N50 stamp duty is levied on all third-party direct deposits and electronic transfers on all Savings Accounts.
Yes, taxes are one way for government to raise money but it is also a common system for income distribution. In a country with such great income inequality a regressive tax policy like this that disproportionately affects the poor will only make things worse.
It is cruel for Nigeria to penalize poor people who deposit their money in the bank when same Nigeria pays its lawmakers the highest pay being received by any lawmaking body in the world. Nigeria generating revenue drive should start with the Government cutting her bloated unnecessary expenses.
We advise the federal government to first put all necessary structures in place as there are still concerns on the integrity and sincerity of the government officials in handling public funds, as funds like this in the past have been embezzled by few corrupt elements which is highly worrisome and unacceptable, example is the present Dasukigates. Government should first block all leakages, ensures that systemic structures are in place, as all the measures employed by the Federal Government to solve the nation’s problem by diversifying the economy would not yield positive results without first embarking on the complete restructuring of the system.
We also use this opportunity to call on the CBN to henceforth make wide consultations with all relevant stakeholders, before embarking on their various conflicting inconsistent trial-by-error policies as governance is a multi-stakeholder process, and Nigeria and Nigerians are not toys. The direct adverse effects of policies especially on the people should be considered first.
While still reiterate our support for the present government towards the anti-corruption drive, we also call on the federal, State and Local governments to start without delay, the implementation of the newly adopted United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are the global agenda for the next 15 years, and they are the goals that will move us to a more Just, peaceful and a sustainable nation.
Executive Director, CENGSSUD
16 November 2015.
CENGSSUD condemns the cruel, terrible and cowardly terrorist attacks in Paris and call for all to remain united in the fight against all forms of violence and terrorism.
The Centre for Global Solutions and Sustainable Development (CENGSSUD) strongly condemns and stands in solidarity with the people of France following the cruel, terrible and cowardly terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday.
Islamic extremists, ISIS, had since then claimed responsibility, went on a violent rampage killing at least 120 people and injuring many more.
These savage and despicable attacks on civilians, whether they occur in Paris, Beirut or any other city or country, are outrageous and without justification. We condemn these horrific crimes in the strongest possible terms. Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those killed and injured and with all of France. The perpetrators of these heinous attacks must be apprehended and brought to justice.
CENGSSUD implores all not to see this attack as a means of hatred, disharmony that may divide Europe and the world at large which is the line drawing and wall-building that Islamic State wants, but to embrace our commitments to coexistence with all cultures. The poisonous ideology of Islamism must be challenged by all, since the path of silent disagreement holds no value and virtue for any one.
It must also not be forgotten that attacks have been carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Somalia etc. We must see ourselves as a global community committed to the rights of all people to live in peace and safety. CENGSSUD extends condolences and heartfelt wishes to the victims in all of these attacks from every countries affected and to their loved ones left behind in mourning.
An attack on one, therefore, is an attack on all.
Centre for Global Solutions and Sustainable Development (CENGSSUD) is a multi- focused/dimensional non-governmental, not-for-profit making organisation with the primary objective of promoting sustainable development and contributes to advancing practical and workable solutions to the world’s numerous problems through research, advocacy, policy development/analysis, capacity development and partnerships. We define sustainable development as the pursuit of four societal objectives: (i) economic development, including the end to extreme poverty in all its forms; (ii) social inclusion; (iii) environmental sustainability; and (iv) good public and private sector governance, including peace and security.