The elimination of the subsidy from the 2009 budget by President Umar Yar’Adua shows government poor understanding of the social realities of the current global economic recession on average Nigerians again it also creates an impression that the government is having a wrong notion of how best the nation encumbrance overcome her balance of payment problems. It is least anticipated that the containment could re-direct besides re-structure the oil sectoral aim at this critical moment in our financial life as a nation.
Despite the power explanations, individuals are still groaning. The workers ability be combating a lost battle, but the falsity of government claims are visible. Yet, the government insists that it could no longer bring the s 640 billion yearly expenditure on fuel subsidy. The reactions and protest threats of the Labour Unions notwithstanding, government still bent on sustaining the new animus of deregulation.
With the removal of oil subsidy, the original tendencies of people at the helm of affairs of the nation are exposed. Rather than getting more people convinced, government left many confused although protecting and justifying their stance on gasoline deregulation.
However, the workers are also right for protesting in opposition t freeing. They are particularly concerned with the effect of the proposition on the common man. The shameful admission by the government that 90 per cent of the petroleum products consumed in Nigeria today are currently provided considering importation, alike with our four refineries, is a trend that raises further questions.
The government should fully accept blame for causing the nation an enbarrazement as the six largest producer of petroleum, having to depend on abstraction of domestically consumed fuel. And the alleged nuke by persons within the device must be properly investigated to expose those that crippled the domestic refineries. Also, those that were elaborate in diverting already subsidized petroleum products in that smuggling activities must be blacklisted again be prosecuted accordingly.
As I have noted, deregulation in this country is a mere purpose to increase the fuel prices. identical domination the present circumstance, reasons abound that government strength not be interested in genuine deregulation or element fundamental reform. This is against the backdrop of the position re-inforced further canvassed by the Minister for Petroleum, Dr Rilwan Lukman as reported in the dailies that at a meeting with the gasoline Marketers, he urged them to accept selling at a new cost. This in itself shows that via conception besides design, deregulation entrust bring unnoted hardship on the people as there is bound to be increase in the prices of petroleum products and will further create gap between the lush and the poor populace.
But additional particularly, the presidency again the Ministry over petroleum materials have not succeeded force proving that the government was smashing subsidies as we have been made to believe.
Even with deregulation, concerted efforts ardor to be trumped-up to prevent racketeering, fraud and impair in the future operations of the reformed sector. The quest to create additional supply sources is laudable and the government plan to encourage the springing up of private refineries again its desire to allow more players into marketing and distribution of petroleum products the works sound good but rely on efficiency of the industrialized avid gamers also the available stock in the measure which is the primary objective of policy.
Equally, the proposed reform of the petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (P.P.P.R.A) which is responsible for determining the price of oil ought to have been carried out earlier than the government announcing deregulation, if the government is trusty with its admission that the agency had been massively compromised.
More importantly, duo input need to be accommodated as a way to show bridle seriousness and commitment to structured and transparent dialectic in implementing the grease sectoral reform.
Having obvious poor effect and low impact of as third billion dollars frittered via Obasanjo’s management on the makeup Around alimony of the perpetually ailing refineries, the rapaciousness to head the account of the past repairs is essential to show the government readiness and practise for the reform. Or the cronies that feasted on the contracts for the repair of the sickly refineries are sacred cows that could not be prosecuted. Failure to investigate allegations of corrupt enrichment supremacy the petroleum sector, will eventually generate image challenge considering the government.
Candidly, deregulation may not stop popular tumult for the intent reversal until the existing refineries are made to be optimally functional, irrespective of the check structure or system of ownership in operation. It is high time the government build in place measures to cushion the effects of deregulation on the poor that constitute over 70 per cent of the population.
The real issue therefore is how the government will re-package the convalesce programme rule order to allay the fear of the masses and to put device in place to prevent severe socio-economic backlashes and other negative consequences of arbitrary increase grease the fuel pump prices, which are major characteristics of deregulation.
public Affairs Analyst,
Oyo Town ,
Oyo State .