President Bola Tinubu followed his word by launching into action immediately after his inaugural address, just as he pledged during his campaign for the 2023 general election.
Governments in the past have spoken about the threat and danger of gasoline subsidies to Nigeria’s economy, but have been unable to eliminate them because marketers are fast to raise the price of the commodity while also making it scarce, which usually results in citizen demonstrations.
With this approach, Tinubu’s administration appeared to be committed to remove the fuel subsidy and ensure that it never emerges in the Nigerian economic story again.
As a result, if Tinubu is successful in eliminating the subsidy regime, the new government’s next target may be the Bureau de Change, another system that benefited only a few while negatively affecting the country’s exchange rate.
The Bureau de Change is a group of powerful Nigerians who trade dollars on the “black market.” These individuals obtain significant amounts of dollars from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through influence and lobbyists and resell them at higher prices on the black market.
The official exchange rate of N1 to $1 is 461.5 as of Wednesday, May 31, however it is exchanged on the black market for N 745.
On his first day in office, Vice President Kashim Shettima told journalists at the state house on Tuesday, May 30, that they expected significant opposition to the new policy, but that the new government is determined to break the record. Fuel subsidies, according to Shettima, must be eliminated, as well as various exchange rates. He went on to say that if Nigeria didn’t withdraw the subsidy, the subsidy will end Nigeria.
Will Tinubu win the fight against subsidy and Bureau De Change?
Either Tinubu will win the struggle he set for himself, or his administration will fall victim to the passage of time.
This is because the Bureau de Change system is as ancient as the subsidies, if not earlier, and it has grown so established that opposing it would appear to be de-employing a certain segment of society.