The Oasis Reporters
April 17, 2019
By Greg Abolo
While there’s absolutely no point in reminding Nigerians about the views of the ruling party on Petroleum subsidy before the general elections that swept President Muhammadu Buhari into power in 2015, it is pertinent to say that it goes against the grain that while crude oil prices are plummeting in the international market, fuel prices are going up!
For instance, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Barrister Ibe Kachikwu (Ph. D) told the nation on NTA TV, Tuesday morning that the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, is N35 higher than the pump price of N145 per litre.
In other words, when Nigeria sells crude oil abroad in the face of rising or falling prices, it still would cough out 35 naira as subsidy on a litre that every generator or car owner buys.
The next question would be, what then is left for infrastructural development or education?
Kachikwu said the rise in global crude oil prices after the 2016 hike in petrol price brought back subsidy.
In an answer on the way out question, Dr. Kachikwu said, “I think, first and foremost, we need to find a way of fixing refineries quickly, whether it is government-funded or whatever – my preference is always private sector funding”.
The question most Nigerians are asking is that if in the 16 years of PDP rule and 4 years of APC rule and the refineries are still decrepit and unable to refine crude, who needs a soothsayer to know that the problem is far bigger than the authorities want to admit to the public? Is the private sector itself eager to touch Nigeria’s aged refineries that have lacked adequate maintenance over the decades?
As the country has been importing petrol in over 40 years by exporting refining jobs to other economies while Nigerian engineers remain without jobs, the answer is neither here nor there.
Meanwhile, it is spoken about openly that some youths refine petrol secretly in the creeks and that security forces have always been in pursuit of the illegal refiners and smashing their equipment.
Just assuming that these youths are legitimized, licensed, streamlined and regulated, would there still be any need to pay subsidy on imported petrol from Asia and Europe?
In another development, while Electric cars are obtaining so much traction as their popularity is gaining ground while legislations are on, from India to Europe and the Americas to phase out fuel powered cars, isn’t it time to let the creek boys do the refining, and cut off subsidy payments forever so that the revenue from crude sales would be channeled to infrastructure?
Just being commonsensical in using what we have to bail the country out of a catch 99 situation.
With additional online news reports