26April 2013

LAGOS- 18 April 2013- The Nigerian Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) in collaboration with the Centre for Public Policy Alternatives (CPPA) convened a workshop to launch A Citizens’ Guide to Energy Subsidies in Nigeria. This guide was published by CPPA and the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI). The conveners of the workshop also sought a range of views from participants regarding the current subsidy regime. This was timely especially with recent agitations following the federal Governments proposed complete removal of fuel subsidies in Nigeria.

Key participants at the workshop were some members of the Expert Panel of the NNRC including former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the Panel, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, representatives of the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG). There were also representatives from the Jetty and Petroleum Tank Farm Owners of Nigeria (JEPTFON), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Civil Society Organizations among others.

The workshop commenced with brief comments made by the Chairman of the Expert Panel of the NNRC. This was followed by presentations made by Ms. Chinwe Ezeigbo- researcher with the NNRC- and Dr. Otive Igbuzor- Executive Director of African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) and member of the Expert Panel of the NNRC.

Ms. Ezeigbo, in her presentation, highlighted the facts regarding subsidies and revenue allocation in Nigeria. She also underlined the recommendations of the Precepts 1, 7 and 9 of the Charter. These precepts prescribe practical ways through which governments can best utilize revenues generated from the resource sector to achieve sustained economic and social development for its citizens.

Dr. Igbuzor focused on the advocacy issues on energy subsidy in Nigeria. He highlighted among other things that subsidies have been used as an opportunity to mismanage resource revenues and encourage corruption in the sector. He also emphasized the need for government to implement subsidies which are targeted towards the poor.

A panel discussion was convened after the presentations to discuss the state of subsidies. Panelists included members of the Expert Panel of the NNRC and representatives of JEPTFON and NECA. A question and answer session was held following these discussions with a range of questions and comments from the audience.

There was no consensus to support either a complete removal or the retention of subsidy in Nigeria. A key reoccurring message, however, was the need for a better management of the subsidy regime to enable transparency and accountability in the use of resource revenues. Also key were the recommendations for strategies to be developed to ensure subsidies are targeted to benefit the poor through, for instance, subsidizing general sectors such as public transportation.  

In the afternoon session, Dr. Folarin Gbadebo-Smith, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer for CPPA, introduced the Citizens’ Guide to Energy Subsidies in Nigeria. He gave an overview of its key findings on energy subsidies in Nigeria.  Free copies of the Citizens Guide can be accessed on this link

Presentations made during this workshop can be accessed on this link. Also see news article following this workshop here

What are your views on the following issues? Are resource revenues being used for the benefit of the current and future generations? Is public spending effectively allocated and controlled? Does the development of oil deliver significant economic and social benefits to citizens?

We are invited to express our views on these pertinent issues and more by scoring the industry here.

Image source: Getty Images 

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