THE Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that state governors entered into an agreement with the Federal Government on the removal of the fuel subsidy.
In her reaction to criticisms that she was solely responsible for the hike in the price of petrol, Okonjo-Iweala stated that the state governors were equally in support of the subsidy removal, adding that the decision was not taken by the Federal Government only.
Speaking on ‘Matters Arising,’ a programme of the Africa Independent Television (AIT) on Tuesday, the Finance Minister, while articulating that the benefits from removal of the fuel subsidy far outweighed the present hardship the people are facing, stated that she was not responsible for the removal of the subsidy, as many people had claimed, adding that the decision was even taken six months before she joined the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“I was not there six months ago, when the state governors deliberated and agreed on the removal of fuel subsidy. Most of the governors then were aware. So, it would be unfair to say that I am solely responsible for this. What of the governors?” she said, adding that, “I am sure it is the people who don’t want me here in the first place that are spreading this false information around.”
Dr Okonjo-Iweala, therefore, tasked Nigerians to be fair and objective in their criticisms, as far as the removal of the fuel subsidy is concerned, insisting that the decision to remove fuel subsidy, as claimed in many quarters, was not determined by her alone.
While pleading that the people should try to understand the initiative of the government, which is geared towards a sustainable economic development, Dr Okonjo-Iweala further reiterated the resolve of the Federal Government not to deliberately inflict hardship on the people, saying that with the removal of the fuel subsidy, Nigerians stood a better chance of improved living conditions, more job opportunities, functional refineries, among other services.
The finance minister identified with the pains of the people, saying that “the fuel price would not remain high forever.” She added that “this is a tough decision for any government to take. Ghana also took the decision recently. We know it is not an easy decision for the Federal Government, but it is a decision for the good of the people.