If there may be something the current Home of Representatives public listening to on the petroleum merchandise subsidy established firmly, it’s the truth that abuses within the importation and cost of these products have been going on for several years.
The fact that the abuses have been going on for years mustn’t shock anybody. Before the restoration of democratic government in 1999, as an example, Nigerians have been subjected to years of not just long queues at petrol stations but additionally imported inferior petroleum merchandise. The off-specification gas damaged vehicle engines and also affected the health of our people, with quite a lot of these stricken by respiratory issues like asthma and bronchitis reported useless; medical consultants speculate that the inferior petrol, which had an offensive odor, might cause cancer.
The abuses within the importation of the petroleum products were such that the then Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, Bayero Dalhatu, needed to publicly state that there was a large scale importation of petroleum products with out the NNPC being aware of it, not to mention being the source. Dalhatu, an engineer, argued that there was no method the NNPC, a professional and responsible organisation, could have allowed the importation of dangerous merchandise into the nation.
It was later discovered that the off-spec product was brought into Nigeria by a politically properly linked family. The household was, in actual fact, importing all the petroleum merchandise. Due to the massive demand – given the nation’s population of 130 million then, this family could not cope. The outcome was perennial scarcity of fuel, which gave rise to long and endless queues at petrol stations, in addition to arbitrary worth will increase in most parts of the nation.
Analysts believe that the fortune, which this family was making from fuel importation accounts for the government’s failure to carry out a correct Flip Round Upkeep (TAM) within the nineties in each of the nation’s 4 refineries positioned in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna. The contract for the Previous Port Refinery, with a capability to refine 60,000 barrels of crude oil per day and the new Port Harcourt Refinery, with a capacity to refine a hundred and fifty,000 barrels of crude oil per day – was given to a third rate European firm. The opposite TAM contracts had been also awarded to inexperienced firms, each native and overseas.
It’s essential to restate these recent info concerning the management of the downstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum business as a result of all of a sudden the impression is being created in some quarters that the issues, which the Nigerian public has witnessed within the importation and cost of petroleum merchandise in Nigeria are a brand new creation. The impression is completely misleading.
The problems of gasoline subsidy are usually not new. They existed lengthy before President Goodluck Jonathan got here to power. In reality, the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Company (PPPRA) was created by the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration as a part of a critical effort to unravel this lengthy standing drawback. However as a substitute of PPPRA being the solution, it’s a pity that the PPPRA itself was to turn into one in every of the problems. Even the late President Umaru Yar’Adua was another leader who grappled with the problem of subsidy abuses without success.
A lot as the government decision to finish the payment of gas subsidy on January 1, 2012, will not be very talked-about due to the timing and the financial hardship going through our people, President Goodluck Jonathan have to be commended for not simply uncanny courage but additionally for his sincerity of function, because he seemed back, saw that his predecessors had been unable to cease the subsidy abuses and, rightly or wrongly, he took the daring determination to end the rot once and for all.
As regards sincerity of objective, another key government official who deserves commendation is the Minister of Petroleum Sources, Mrs. Diezani oil Refinery Plant Alison-Madueke. Most petroleum ministers we have now seen in this country have not been enthusiastic about petroleum subsidy removing simply because of their non-public advantages. They have through the years used gas importation to empower and reward social gathering loyalists, family members and associates, which profoundly hurts Nigerian citizens. In other words, it’s not in the non-public curiosity of a petroleum minister to take away gas subsidy. For daring to be completely different Mrs. Alison-Madueke deserves kudos.
Wanting again over Alison-Madueke’s tenure as minister, it is easy to see a consistent pattern of making an attempt to resolve this downside. Even before the problem of subsidy removal got here up, the minister insisted on getting the unique builders of Nigeria’s 4 refineries to carry out the Flip Around Upkeep. The explanation for choosing the original builders is to finish the apply where the refineries fail to work even after TAM has simply been performed due to the low calibre of the contractors. The original builders of the refineries are world class engineering companies. Due to this fact, they’ve a repute to protect.
By the time the TAM is concluded inside one 12 months, even if there are not enough petroleum merchandise for native consumption from the four refineries, which collectively have the capability to refine 445,000 barrels of crude oil per day, the demand for imported gasoline will scale back drastically. This development could have an immediate salutary influence on the nation’s expenditure on gasoline subsidy and on our foreign change reserve, as well as on employment and enterprise opportunities for the Nigerian individuals.
In response to the issues that had been brewing in PPPRA, Mrs. Alison-Madueke inaugurated final November a new staff on the PPPRA with the mandate to wash up the mess. Since then the brand new PPPRA administration has taken some vital steps to sanitise the importation and payment of gasoline and their efforts have been highly commended by trade watchers.
Not even essentially the most devoted opponent or critic of President Jonathan can fail to acknowledge that his administration has demonstrated spectacular courage and selflessness in tackling the problem of importing and paying for fuel in Nigeria, which has been draining Nigeria’s national treasury for well over 10 years. If only previous government officials had displayed such commitment to the common good, the petroleum subsidy situation would have been resolved long ago, or would not have risen at all. The President Jonathan administration has, as soon as again demonstrated the virtue of inserting nationwide service above parochial and personal interest. We’re impressed.
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