- Available data reveals that Nigeria spent N10.7 trillion on fuel subsidies in the last 10 years, including N750billion in 2019
- The conversations around subsidy have been ongoing for more than a decade with some supporting it and others against it.
- A governor in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of the country, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has made some suggestions on the issue
Asaba - Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state has urged the federal government to re-direct fuel subsidy funds to healthcare and education services to touch the lives of poor Nigerians, saying that continued subsidy on oil amounted to supporting the rich at the expense of the poor.
Okowa made the call when he received the national executive committee of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN) led by its president, Dr Minnie Oseji, at Government House, Asaba on Thursday, June 10.
He said that the best way to attend to the very low people in the society was through their health and education needs, and reiterated that there was an urgent need to redeploy subsidy funds currently being used on petroleum products to the basic needs of poor Nigerians.
A statement sent to Legit.ng by the Delta state government quoted Okowa as saying:
“I believe that if that subsidy is truly redirected to support healthcare and education grants in this country, we will truly be impacting better on the poorer segment of the society.’’
He commended MWAN for impacting very strongly on the family and for their fight to end harmful practices against women and children.
On poor funding of health infrastructure, Okowa blamed it on high recurrent expenditure and inadequate releases of health budgets.
He said that the greatest challenge that the nation had which he noticed while at the Senate was where recurrent expenditure took about 80 to 90 percent of the budget.
Recall that Governor Okowa on Thursday, June 3 advocated for the devolution of powers to states and local governments to stop overburdening the federal government with many responsibilities.
According to him, the federal government is overburdened with many responsibilities in the exclusive list, making it encumbered and inefficient.
He stated that states and local governments were closer to the people and required more funds to execute life-changing projects that would be beneficial to the people.
In a related development, Governor Okowa has said that for Nigeria to truly develop as a nation, there must be a partnership between government and the people, predicated on equity, fairness, and justice.
The governor stated this at a state banquet in honour of retiring chief judge of Delta state, Justice Marshal Umukoro, on Saturday night, May 22 in Government House, Asaba.
He said that in such partnership, consideration of equity and rights of all was paramount and that the people must be treated fairly and equitably in all dealings.