Things like Road network, Hospitals and Health facilities, Education, Housing, Security of lives and Properties and Environment, job creations and Industries and social security support for the vulnerable citizens, these are hallmarks of a stable and responsible society. Officially, Nigeria’s daily crude oil production post-amnesty is “2.6 million barrels per day. Our daily local consumption is estimated to be 300, 000 barrels per day. This leaves approximately 2.3 Million bpd for export to international market to generate up to 85% of our national revenue and 95% of Foreign exchange earnings.” they say. This generated revenue is a collective patrimony and sovereign wealth with politicians and policy makers as custodian of commonwealth trusted to be invested in social and developmental infrastructure for the benefit of every citizen of Nigeria and to meet our International obligations.
If Nigeria produces 2.6Million bpd of Crude and local consumption is 0.3Million bpd, what is the need for subsidy? Why is the need to import refined fuel? How can you subsidize what is already in surplus production from the natural reserve? The concept of fuel subsidy is another word for “capital cronyism” which allows private individuals to own Oil wells belonging to Nigerians, either as a front or in trust or in corrupt collusion with people in government with vast capacity and vessels to transport it out of the country and then refine it at some privately owned refineries cited in some other countries or by other arrangements with refineries own and built by other sovereign nations in which they have vested interest and later secure import contracts to bring it in to sell at exorbitant unregulated prices at the pumps to innocent Nigerian citizens.
The personalities behind this so called Fuel subsidy sham are not unfamiliar to Nigerians and indeed the world. Removal or no removal, these cabals still retain the import license and infrastructure to continue to import refined fuels and transport crude anyway, so the current price that the government just announced would further increase the income given to these cabals and it will also promote artificial scarcity and hoarding of imported fuel as these people also own the storage facilities for the imported fuel. The abovementioned is typical of why Nigeria found herself in the current debacle of so called fuel subsidy.
In the midst of all these absurdities, the most enlightening issue that is indicative of what is to come when we finally come to terms with the need to move beyond petrol subsidy removal. But as long as the local refineries are owned by Federal Government, they will remain dysfunctional and we will continue importing petrol and allegedly subsidizing it, and no private investor will build refineries in such a regulated environment as they will not be able to compete with NNPC and PPPRA. The issue is not really the removal or retention of subsidy but if this government can be trusted to do all it has promised.