Amidst the fuel subsidy removal announced by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his recent inaugural speech, health workers represented by the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) have presented a list of eight demands to the current administration.
President Tinubu justified the removal of the subsidy, citing the escalating costs that could no longer be supported by depleting resources. He pledged to redirect the saved funds towards critical investments in public infrastructure, education, healthcare, and job creation, with the aim of enhancing the lives of millions.
However, NAGGMDP, through a statement signed by Dr. Sofiri Starson Peterside Jnr, the National President, and Dr. Enobong Akpan, the Secretary General, has urged the Federal Government to immediately suspend the fuel subsidy removal and revert to the previous pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
The health workers expressed concerns about the potential repercussions of the removal, warning that it could lead to widespread industrial unrest across various sectors, which could bring the nation to a standstill.
Additionally, NAGGMDP called upon the government to implement measures to combat crude oil theft, enhance border security, and address leakages within the oil and gas industry.
NAGGMDP said, “That we strongly align in solidarity with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and call on the Federal Government to urgently suspend the removal of fuel subsidy and revert to the old pump price of PMS to avert the looming multisectoral industrial disharmony that may grind the country to a halt.
“That our refineries should be revamped to functional capacity as soon as possible, and licenses should be given for the establishment of more refineries to encourage local production of Petroleum products.
“The Federal Government should institute measures to stop crude oil theft, secure our borders and stop leakages within the oil and gas sector.
“There should be a committee set up by the Federal Government to audit the subsidy regime since its inception and the use of funds recurrently allocated for the repair of our refineries and that the culprits brought to book.
“There is an urgent need for the Federal Government to strengthen healthcare financing by ensuring at least 15% budgetary allocation to the health sector. There is also a need to achieve universal health coverage through primary healthcare and National/State health insurance schemes across the country in order to reduce out-of-pocket expenses and guarantee accessible and affordable healthcare.
“The Federal Government should set up a robust economic team that will establish cushioning measures to protect citizens when the subsidy is eventually removed. Priority should be given to measures aimed at addressing the widespread hunger and poverty in the country. They should also bring on board palliative measures to mitigate the impact of the eventual subsidy removal on citizens, especially those on low incomes.
“That the Federal Government, in the spirit of patriotism and sacrifice, should take measures to cut down the cost of governance by the Executive and the National Assembly, reduce borrowing, and channel such funds to other critical sectors of the economy, including minimum wage increase.
“The Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration should demonstrate empathy to the citizens of this country by doing what is necessary to alleviate the suffering of the Nigerian people.”