Before removal of oil subsidy


In recent times, there have been a lot of reports hovering around gradual removal of petroleum subsidy by the federal government starting from April while the total removal is slated for June.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited according to a report recently said the country was spending over N400bn monthly on petroleum subsidy which it argued is largely unsustainable

Many who are urging the government to remove the oil subsidy have also predicated  their calls on the fact that payment of petroleum subsidy is one area of our national economy that is replete with so much corruption and theft our commonwealth.

It is reported that many who have nothing to do with importing petroleum to the country are now stinkingly rich profiting from the fabulous corruption in subsidy payment.

The government had many years ago introduced oil subsidy with the sole purpose of ensuring that the citizens do not bear the brunt of the prices of petroleum products such that what they pay is not reflective of the actual selling price.

The current pump price per litre is N180 but with the removal of subsidy, report said Nigerians might pay as much as N750 for a litre of petroleum.

The concern of many people is that payment of  N750 for a litre of petroleum will translate to increase in transportation fares leading to increment in prices of goods and services and of course compounding the challenge of inflation bedeviling the country.

It is also believed that the removal of subsidy will further make life too difficult for the people pushing many more into poverty and deprivation.

It is however the strong opinion of many Nigerians that there would never have been the need for payment of oil subsidy if not because the country relies on importing the substance that it has abundantly.

Many have argued that if only our refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri had been functional, nobody will be talking about subsidy because there would have been no need for such since the product would have been produced locally at a cheaper cost unlike what is obtainable now when the crude would be shipped outside the country to be refined after which the refined product is then brought back to the country at exorbitant price.

It is against this backdrop that the Nigeria Labour Congress  vowed to resist the plan, insisting that the refineries must be functional before the subsidy can be tampered with.

As much as Nigerians want the federal government to end the subsidy regime, they fear that removing the fuel subsidy when we are still heavily dependent on fuel importation will make life too difficult for them or how many of them can afford to pay N750 for a litre of petroleum that is commonly used by all?

If the number one priority of the government is to make life easier for the populace, then it must halt removing the oil subsidy at least for now until it has worked out those arrangements that could help cushion the negative impact of this policy, chiefly getting our refineries working at full capacity.

Many have also advised that rather than keep wasting billions of dollars on our old refineries in the name of Turn Around Maintenance, government can roll out plans to build new refineries, maybe one every four years.