Authorities from Nigeria, the most populated African Country, have with immediate effect removed fuel subsidy.
Fuel subsidy in Nigeria has been sustaining the middle class citizen who majorly depends on petrol as source of electricity since the electricity condition of the country is nothing to write home about.
This action has caused unions to call for mass strikes and street protests.
In the view of Nigerians, the fuel subsidy is the only benefit they get from the national oil wealth – which is designed in part to hold petrol prices at 65 naira a liter ($0.40).
But in the view of the government officials and economists, removing the fuel subsidy is essential to allow for more spending on the poor and inadequate infrastructure of the country and to also reduce the pressure on its foreign reserves.
According to the government more than 7 billion USD was spent on fuel subsidies in 2011
Although the removal of fuel subsidy has been in the discussions of the government for weeks in 2011, there was no prior warning to the masses that it would take effect on the 1st of January 2012.
The “formal removal of the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit” was announced in a statement by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
“Petroleum products marketers are to note that no one will be paid a subsidy on PMS discharges after 1st January 2012,” said the statement bearing the signature of the agency’s executive director, Reginald Stanley.
The Trades Union Congress and Nigerian Labour Congress have called for mass action.
“We alert the populace to begin immediate mobilisation towards the D-Day for the commencement of the strikes, street demonstrations and mass protests across the country,” they said in a joint statement.
Due to corruption and mismanagement Nigeria refines very little of its crude notwithstanding being a major oil producer.
Therefore, it must import fuel even while it exports crude.
RTÉ News contributed to this article.