Feature: How FG should spend the PIB Act Savings

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By Ayo Akinfe

This new Petroleum Industry Act is supposed to save Nigeria $8bn in subsidies. If indeed so, this is how I would spend it

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[1] Nigeria currently spends $8bn a year out of her paltry $33bn annual budget subsidising petrol marketers. As a nation we simply cannot afford this. One does not need to be genius to know this wasteful spending has to go. If this new bill is to be worth the paper it is written on, it has to save us every penny of this crazy subsidy

[2] Most Nigerians are rightly scared about the inflationary impact the removal of the subsidy will have, so I believe these fears can be negated if the cash is used to fund infrastructural development that will improve their lives in other areas. If we spend $8bn generating wealth, creating jobs and expanding output, it will ameliorate the effects of subsidy removal

[3] I would spend $4bn of the cash on education. Human capital development has got to become our national slogan in the post-coronavirus era

[4] This $4bn should be shared among the education commissioner’s in each of the 36 states and give them a mandate to build at least one technical college within their domain

[5] Each of our 36 states must produce a public works programme that involves getting our youth off the street and into vocation education. I want to see all those herdsmen, potential Boko Haram recruits, bandits, area boys, prostitutes, etc trained in welding, carpentry, fashion design, mechanics, bricklaying, etc

[6] I then want to see $2bn spent on rural roads across all 774 local government areas. Our rainy season has shown that we have no rural transport network. Many villages and farms are totally inaccessible during the rainy season

[7] Given that the subsidy will result in less car usage, I will then dedicate $2bn to the construction of our national rail network. We simply have to get more people off the roads and into trains

[8] In subsequent years, I would also dedicate about $2bn to a national bicycle programme. We need to get away from this ignorant notion that bicycles are for the “bush man” and villager

[9] Come 2023, $4bn of this money must be invested in a mega hydro-electric power plant in Idah or Lokoja. I want a facility that can generate at least 10,000MW

[10] Given that this $8bn savings will be annual, what we have to do is actually create a National Infrastructural Development Fund and pour this money into it every year. If judiciously spent, this capital could make a huge difference

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