President Bola Tinubu criticized fuel subsidy during a meeting with members of the Nigerian community in France, calling it a “scam” and a hindrance to growth. He argued that the subsidy benefited smugglers and reduced the actual cost of fuel for certain countries. Tinubu clarified that although his inaugural speech did not mention the removal of fuel subsidy, he decided to stop it on his first day as president. This public statement marked the first time Tinubu addressed his May 29 inaugural speech, in which he declared the end of fuel subsidy.
However, the announcement led to an immediate increase in prices and hoarding, prompting the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to call for protests. It is worth noting that former President Muhammadu Buhari had already initiated steps to end fuel subsidy by June.
President Tinubu assured Nigerians in France that his administration would prioritize the repositioning of the education and health sectors. He also pledged to continue and expand ongoing economic reforms to alleviate poverty and insecurity among struggling families. The President’s comments came 11 days after signing the Students Loan Bill into law.
During the interactive session with the Nigerian community in France, President Tinubu received praise for his decisive actions in fixing the economy. He expressed his commitment to implementing creative and innovative policies in areas such as electricity, sports, and energy that directly impact the livelihoods of Nigerians. The President emphasized the protection of Nigerians’ interests in engagements with the international community and multilateral institutions.
President Tinubu acknowledged the challenges faced by Nigeria in transportation, electricity, and infrastructure, while emphasizing the importance of unity and stability. He assured the attendees that he would work on their behalf to bring about prosperity and positive change in the country. Tinubu described the fuel subsidy as a scam that rewards smugglers and reduces the true cost of the commodity for certain countries. He mentioned that the decision to remove the subsidy was made promptly, and he contacted the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) the following day.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to France, Kayode Laro, expressed gratitude to the President for accepting the proposal for the meeting with Nigerians in France on short notice. Abike Dabiri-Ereluwa, the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, introduced various experts at the event and highlighted opportunities to celebrate Nigerian achievements and attract new interests.
The President received commendation from attendees, including Prof Emmanuel Iga, Abiodun Odunuga, and Anino Elawa, for his efforts to reposition the economy within three weeks. They praised his leadership and the removal of fuel subsidy, while expressing anticipation for the promised palliatives. Nigerians at the event voiced their full support for President Tinubu’s progressive ideas.