Former Aviation Minister, Chidoka, suggests ways to cushion effects of subsidy removal

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Osita Chidoka, a former minister of aviation, has urged President Bola Tinubu to act quickly to reduce workers’ monthly contributions to pension plans and eliminate bank fees in order to lessen the impact of the loss of fuel subsidies on the general public.

Chidoka, a PDP leader and supporter of former vice president Atiku Abubakar, spoke on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

“We need to think beyond politics. When he (Tinubu) took a decision to remove subsidy and he removed fuel subsidy and the fuel prices rose by 100 and something naira to 500 and something naira in a day. What are the immediate measures that can be taken to make sure there is more cash in the pockets of people who go to work every day?” he queried.

“If I was thinking with him, I would have said immediately: remove the charges for bank transfers in Nigeria, the N26 and the N56, cut it immediately. That money goes to the banks and they are just enriching themselves… or make a flat rate of once a month, you can charge N100 for IT (Information Technology) support. So, that puts more money in the hands of people.

“Second one is that our pension scheme has accumulated a lot of money and that pension scheme now requires people to pay 12% of their salaries from the employers’ side.

Read Also: Osita Chidoka presents facts to counter Amaechi’s claim Jonathan left near empty treasury

“So, I think you can reduce the amount the people are contributing for a one-year period or six months to allow more money.

“That way, immediately from the next month salary, another N10,000, N5,000 as the case may be, enters into the pocket of the people who goes to work every day. They are able to pay their transport fare because they need to go to work tomorrow. We can’t wait till when you take a decision (on ministerial appointments) to ameliorate the suffering,” he said.

The ex-minister added that in order to take into account the current economic conditions and inflationary shocks, the minimum salary must increase from its existing level of N30,000.

He claimed that even though the Tinubu administration stopped providing subsidies on its first day in office, it was left with a $3 billion debt that had to be paid to fuel importers.

“The past is already facing him (Tinubu) because there is about $3bn owed to the fuel importers. The four major companies importing fuel to Nigeria have a debt of over $3bn and they haven’t been given enough crude to pay for those debt. So, he (Tinubu) has to pay the backlog of those debts,” Chidoka stated.

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