Tag Archives: Nigerian

Subsidy Removal Implications on the Environment, by Experts

26 Jan

Niger bridge on a bright tuesday afternoon.

By Michael Simire

Deputy Sunday Editor

The past couple of weeks have not been the best of times for the average Nigerian, who has been battling to contend with an unsavoury New Year gift from government.

Astonishment, despair, and then anger greeted the unexpected January 1 declaration by the Federal Government that the downstream sector of the oil industry had been deregulated and as such the N65 per litre cost of petrol had more than doubled overnight.

Consequently, the nation virtually came to halt for most of the past week as the Organised Labour-led nationwide mass action became operational. But life still had to continue and Nigerians, amid the protest, had begun to devise means to adapt to the catastrophe.

Industry stakeholders say that because of the new price regime, the environment will be better off as less fuel will be burnt and thus resulting in minimal pollution.

“Already, people have started re-ordering their priorities – generators are now working fewer hours in residential area; during the sit-at-home most afternoons are devoid of generator noise and fumes,” submits Akin Olawore, a realtor.

According to him, resources will have to be reallocated and, following the crashing GSM airtime, “there will be more of conference calls than physical meetings where it can be avoided.”

Olawore, who is based in Lagos, adds, “More people will desire to join mass transit and perhaps pooling of vehicles will become of greater relevance. No doubt house prices will go up where there is vibrant market such as the mid and low, but there may be prolonged void at the high end.

“This is the time to convert downtown properties to executive studio flats, as closeness to the Central Business District (CBD) will translate to savings in gas cost which will drive demand in that market.”

Abuja-based environmentalist, Ochuko Odibo, believes that the situation will create a behavioural change in the way Nigerians consume fuel.

His words: “Many Nigerians will rather walk to the corner shop than drive there. Nigerians will now prefer to share car rides with friends or use the public transport service therefore reduce emission of carbon dioxide (Co2) in the atmosphere.

“It will also drive Nigerians to adopt alternative source of fuel that is cheap, renewable, affordable and available,” he stresses.

Environmentalists and university professor, Babajide Alo, notes that the development may reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere.

He says, “People would begin to rationalise how they use their vehicles now because of the new fuel regime. Rather one person using a car, three or more people would now occupy such a vehicle. I foresee a situation whereby mass transportation will also be encouraged.”

Alo, a chemist, emphasises that the nation’s contribution to GHGs emission will reduce Greenhouse Gases would reduce under the new regime, adding, “One good part of the deregulation is that the environment will be better for it.”

Environmental activist, Ewah Eleri, describes the former fuel regime as not cost effective, resulting in wasteful use of vehicles. He states that the country’s transport sector is long overdue for an overhaul.

“If this becomes one of the resolutions of petroleum deregulation, people will rethink before embarking on single occupancy journey. This will be good for the environment and the national economy,” he contends, expressing regret that the timing of the policy’s implementation is questionable.

Environmental advocate, Surveyor Efik, tags the new regime as a blessing in disguise in terms of carbon emission reduction because, according to him, a lot of people may be forced to park their cars while others may engage alternative means of transportation.

Nigeria Ebezina video- Flavour goes green

He explains that the regime will reduce the number of cars on the roads and consequently cut the nation’s carbon footprint of the country. He laments, however, that the development will negatively impact on the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizenry.

Efik wants the authorities ameliorate the sufferings on the masses as a result of the subsidy removal, adding that the buses presented by the Federal Government should be adequate and environment-friendly.

He suggests that government should go for bio-fuel buses that are fuel efficient and emit less.

Subsidy Removal for Forced-minimalism

24 Jan

For many Nigerians, 2012 did not have a good beginning. This is because the cost of living from Jan 1, 2012, skyrocketed to a frightening height, over a 100 percent. This was a bitter pill Nigerians were made to swallow by our government in the name of fuel subsidy removal. The government said it needed to remove the subsidy to open up the market and cut cost. So forced “minimalism” became the survival strategy from day 1 in 2012 and thereafter. Nigerians home and abroad hit the streets in protest. Nigerians from all works of life, ages and in different parts of the world set out to occupynigeria .

Minimalism is a green concept of living with only the exact things you truly need and reducing ones thirst to consume more. In this contest, “forced minimalism” is hoarding and managing what you have to make it last longer and holding strongly unto all other things you have because you know not what this subsidy removal has in store.

Minimalism this period became not optional but by instinct. The new cost of living, heightened by the nationwide strike activated forced minimalism in every Nigerian except ofcos government officials and their families whose fat pay and mega lifestyle  rejects cost cutting by default.

Nigerians began to save, hoard and protect whatever they had. From food to clothing, airtime, drinks, Alomo Bitters (Latest drink in Lagos and its environ) and most especially petrol. According to your social and financial class, use of resources got reduced a great deal. People turned off their air-con, reduced their use of generators and embraced a more eco-friendly means of transportation-walking and cycling on the empty streets.  Nigeria is hugely dependent on use of petrol because  electricity doesn’t work and no other means of transportation works as much as road transportation and air for the few who can afford it. So every thing was affected. Even the sky experienced a bit of FRESH AIR. Air transport was shut down . You either coughed out enough cash and time to travel by road, start a new life where ever you got stuck,  wait till the government reduces the cost of petrol and the strike is called off or wait till one of Mr Presidents  Subsidy SAVIOUR  Buses comes to take you away like the Chariot of fire.

I strolled out to buy some akara(bean cakes) and had a great laugh as I listened to a young boy narrate his forced minimalism ordeal to his friend. He had in his hand a sachet of pure water. He said “ My guy, see as I hold pure water for hand because I never finish am. If na before, as I drink am reach the amount wen I want, I no care whether na small or big remain, I go throw way am. But this one, I no care if e de spoil my swag o. I go hol am for hand till I finish am, I no care if na from mainland reach island o. Na N20  I buy am. No be N5 o!!!  20Nairaaa!!!!  My brother, my eyes don red. Na manage I dey”. It was so hilarious but also shocking to hear that the price of pure water had gone that high.

Lord, do it for her. You turned water into wine. You have done it before. You can do it again!!

Like majority of Nigerians, I am for subsidy removal because of the long term benefits. Opening up a sector for more investors, breaks monopoly and brings about competition/reduction in price of the commodity. The reason people rose up against this change and hit the street was majorly because of the timing. Jan 1. When folks were still back in their villages , have spent so much money during the festivities and getting set to go home possibly having just their transportation fares. Worst still, Nigeria lacks good infrastructure to help cushion the effects. Therefore, it was a story of pain and anguish for so many.

The question of cutting cost was unacceptable for Nigerians. In a nation with extravagant government spending and a history of widespread theft of billions by military rulers and present politicians. Why wouldn’t judgement start in the house of power? Why wouldn’t the government cut down on their wastage to help the economy instead of worsening the living of over 160million people.

I did not enjoy the striking period one bit(except the holiday and family bonding time), but I am sure mother nature did while it lasted. She must have been glad that we  learnt to use our resources wisely and in a sustainable manner.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Long live mother earth and a moment of silence for all who lost their lives in the struggle for a better Nigeria. Have a great 2012 and overcome every challenge one day at a time.

More photos below.

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