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What Governor Alex Otti Said On Subsidy Removal At UNN’s 63rd Founders’ Day Anniversary Celebration
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What Governor Alex Otti Said On Subsidy Removal At UNN’s 63rd Founders’ Day Anniversary Celebration

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Several attempts to eliminate subsidy payments by various governments in Nigeria suffered great pushbacks in the public domain owing to allegations of corruption, absence of transparency in the subsidy administration process and general concerns that savings made from withdrawing subsidy would be diverted.

These are legitimate concerns in the light of our perennial history of mismanagement and absence of accountability on the part of public officials.

The above remarks were the words of Dr. Alex Otti, the Governor of Abia State, at Nsukka while delivering a lecture as part of activities marking the 63rd Founders’ Day celebration of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

The event was held between 2nd and 8th October 2023.

The Governor spoke on the topic, “Fuel Subsidy Removal: Dealing With The Challenges, Harnessing The Opportunities”.

Governor Otti further said, “the question of wages should also have been considered, although it is still not late. The truth, however, is that the national minimum wage must reflect current economic realities otherwise what you get is starvation wage which will inevitably lead to frustration and public anger”. What Governor Alex Otti Said On Subsidy Removal At UNN’s 63rd Founders’ Day Anniversary Celebration

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He also noted that “our contention is that efforts could have been made to mitigate the impact of the inflation that was bound to follow the removal of fuel subsidy by putting in place, a new national minimum wage framework that would at least answer to the basic needs of the workers”.

The Abia State Governor also said that “One, all levels of government must immidiately invest in mass transit schemes, strictly as a social service and not as a money making venture.

“However, they must be managed by people with a good understanding of how transportation within and across cities work. The mass transit buses must never be used as a political compensation programme otherwise, the aim would be defeated, even before it takes off.

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“The first issue of interest should be defining how to protect the economically vunerable from rising food and transportation costs. The truth, whether we accept it or not, is that many more people have fallen into poverty trap since the removal of petrol subsidy on May 29”.

Governor Otti added, “I would recommend that in addition to spending more to increase our electricity output for industrial and household needs, which is very critical in the absence of cheap petrol and diesel, we must also encourage private sector players to look actively towards the sector, leveraging on existing legislations.

“Big oil companies operating in the country, including NNPCL, NLNG and others must be encouraged, using a combination of smart policy options, to channel a part of their earnings and profits into investing in electricity supply to support businesses and households and make the impact of the petrol subsidy removal less severe”, the Governor advised.

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On his part, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Arizechukwu Igwe said that the Founders’ Day celebration was an annual event during which they commemorate and celebrate the birth of their University in October 1960.

He also said that the lecture was always the highpoint of the activities marking the week- long celebrations. The lecture was intended to create a stage for serious reflections and discussions of national and global interest, adding that the honour of delivering the Founders’ Day lecture was reserved for persons of uncommon achievements, which would serve to inspire the staff, students and alumni, stressing that this year’s lecturer, Dr. Alex Otti, belonged to that special class of persons.

Other dignitaries at the event included the Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Elochukwu Amucheazi, the 7th Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Frank Ndili, FAS, and his wife, Edna, among others.

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