The hope of a possible reopening discussion with organised labour or any group on the contentious hike in electricity and fuel tariffs may have been dashed if the declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday while presenting the 2021 N13.08 trillion budget, is anything to go by.
The unionists recently ‘suspended’ their planned protest to force price reversal for two weeks.
But Buhari left no one in doubt yesterday as to what his administration’s position on the issue is when he declared that the decision was a major plank of government’s strategic revenue plan for the next fiscal year.
According to him, the deregulation was mopping up revenues to cater to other critical sectors of the economy, while the increased electricity price was addressing the liquidity challenges in the industry.
His words: “The new petro pricing has freed up resources that were used for subsidy payments, while the new cost-reflective pricing in the electricity industry is meant to address the liquidity challenges in the sector.”
He was, however, silent on the implementation plan for the Teachers Salary Scale Scheme (TSS) announced on Monday during this year’s World Teacher’s Day celebration in Abuja by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
The Guardian had, the next day, learnt that the details were being worked out. But, going by feelers, it does seem teachers in the employ of government might wait a little longer to enjoy the largesse.
However, a Professor of Finance and Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Uche Uwaleke, has described the 2021 budget parameters as realistic, urging the government to avoid expansionary consumption loans. He advised that the current administration should only embark on project-tied borrowings.
IN the meantime, the government is working on making conversion of PMS-powered cars to autogas affordable.
Currently, the conversion cost is between N350, 000 and N400, 000 per vehicle.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who dropped the hint during a conversion exercise in Abuja, observed that gas is cleaner and cheaper.
He expressed satisfaction with the process, charging the centres to always prioritise the safety of vehicle and user.