President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday lamented that a number of government programmes, which ought to have been effectively implemented for the benefit of Nigerians, could not be realised owing to poor data management system.
For instance, he listed the abuse of the fuel subsidy scheme, which was meant to reduce the cost of transportation for Nigerians as well as make life more meaningful for the ordinary people, as one of the disadvantages of not having an efficient national identity management system.
The President, who said this in Abuja during the unveiling of the national identity card, noted that it was unfortunate that after spending billions of naira annually on fuel subsidy payment, majority of the citizens did not get to enjoy the subsidy owing to the fact that about 60 per cent of the funds were smuggled out of the country.
He lamented that those who smuggled the subsidy funds out of the country were the ones who later turned around to instigate the citizens against the government.
Jonathan said, “I’m particularly pleased with the National Identity Management Commission because a number of things we are supposed to do well as a nation, we are not doing well. And sometimes, we blame the government because of the failure of the system and the credibility of the process.
“If you take the issue of subsidy of transport; what we do is subsidising hydrocarbon, it does not go to the ordinary people. Government spends huge sums of money, hundreds of billions of naira every year in the budget, ask the National Assembly. Sometimes it is controversial subsidising kerosene; yet, it is going very high in the market, subsidising the PMS and so on. We are thinking about how to subsidise the transportation system such as the person going to school, the person going to the market, the person moving from Lagos to Enugu or Lagos to Kano, and not paying subsidy 60 per cent of which will be smuggled out of the country. And those who make the money will come and use that money to induce the people suffering to even riot against government.”
He said the lack of an efficient national identity management system had made it difficult for Nigerians, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid, to benefit from government’s programmes.
According to him, it is difficult to effectively replicate the amnesty programme for the Niger Delta region in the North when the security crisis began few years ago owing to lack of accurate data of those affected by insurgency.