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Shelve plan to remove fuel subsidy, PFN tells FG

*Says plan will worsen Nigerians’ suffering, trigger crisis

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has called on the Federal Government to shelve the proposed plan to remove fuel subsidy, saying the plan if atualised will worsen the suffering of majority of Nigerians who are already impoverished.

PFN president, Bishop Wale Oke, who is also the presiding Bishop of The Sword of the Spirit Ministries, made the call in a statement on Sunday, adding that the proposed policy could trigger crisis in the country.

He explained that the implementation of the policy would lead to hike in the price of fuel and this would have a ripple effect on prices of goods and services

He warned that the implementation of such policy would increase the hardship currently being experienced by the people of the country.

The cleric said prices of foodstuffs and other daily needs were increasingly going out of reach of the people, noting that if the proposed subsidy removal was effected, it would exacerbate the hardship of the people of the nation.

Bishop Oke further said the situation in the country was very bad because of the steady decline in the purchasing power of Nigerians as a result of the continuous fall in the value of the nation’s currency.

The statement reads in part: “Everybody will feel it, particularly the less privileged. The negative effects will surely outweigh the positive.

“The cost of transportation for human and goods across the country will skyrocket and other things connected which will have a spiral effect on the general living standard of the populace; the suffering will be multi-dimensional. Please let all stakeholders be sensitive to this avoidable path and do the needful.

“By whatever means, let the Federal Government put its heart into ensuring that our refineries are back to life. In addition, in order to stem the rising cost of living, farmers and others connected to them should be encouraged. This is what can help our economy.”

He said the PFN would always support policies that would enhance good governance, but charged the government to this effect to put in place tangible palliative measures that could ameliorate the hardship being experienced.

He said: “Without begging the issue, there should be well defined palliative measures in place that can cushion the effect of the hardship being experienced by Nigerians, especially the commoners. One is not talking about political palliatives that never last. We have seen enough of such.

“An increase in the price of petroleum from its present N165 to N340 per litre can trigger tension and crises in the country which in turn can paralyse our economy if not handled with utmost care.

“Again, the planned introduction of N5,000 for 40 million poor Nigerians is to create a cesspool of corruption. How do you define the poor? They, mostly, don’t use telephones. They, mostly, don’t have bank accounts. How will the money get to them?”

Oke advised the government to be wary of policies that could jeopardize the conduct of the 2023 general elections, insisting that all hands must be geared towards steering the wheel of the country to safety.

As a panacea to the rising cost of food items, the PFN president advised that farmers and relevant stakeholders should be empowered with relevant tools and funds through loans with little interest.

Oke implored the government not to relent in its efforts at ensuring that security challenges in the country become a thing of the past.

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