The government of the Federal Republic often encourages Nigerians to eat what they produce, wear what they produce, use Inoson cars made in Nigeria, which has my support. It has even gone ahead to ban or highly taxed what it called foreign luxury goods to make them unattractive for importation.
I am, therefore, at a loss why we have been importing fuel since early 70s and cannot give a deadline to the oil and gas chieftains to either shape in or shape out. Why can’t the government tow the line of consume what you produce in the oil and gas sector? Why can’t the government give a deadline now to ban importation of fuel to also encourage Nigerians to fuel their cars with a Nigeria-produced fuel?
Subsidy of petroleum products started in the early 70s as a response to the 1973 oil price shock. The proposed subsidy at that time, was to last for six months. Because subsidy promotes lethargy, hubris rent collection, corruption, easy money for the cartel and elites, brings dollar to the Federation Account for sharing every month, and profiteering to sustain the rich and their friends in the government, the government would rather spend trillions annually to subsidize fuel and borrow to plug the hemorrhaging economic points.
It was good news to hear the then Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Major-General Muhammadu Buhari promised on March 19, 2015 in a town hall meeting, at Abuja to build four new refineries if elected as President later that month.
If he started building them concurrently when he came in, it would have taken 68 months to accomplish. Many might ask, “where would the money have come from?” My answer is simple, where is the money spent on subsidizing petroleum consumption and power coming from?
That we have been unable to maintain or build new refineries from 1999 to date is honestly saddening. Can PMB rewrite this bad nightmarish historical tragedy before his exit? Time will tell.
Grace and peace!!!