Ayo Oyoze Baje argues that Nigerians are overburdened
“Leadership is taking responsibility, while others are making excuses”
“What do these folks in authorities take long-suffering Nigerians for? How can we clarify or start to justify 4 will increase within the pump price of petrol inside one yr, coming quickly after the months of excruciating lockdown trigger d by the COVID-19 pandemic? This was at a time when different people-friendly and compassionate leaders internationally have been sharing varied types of palliatives to cushion the financial results on their residents. However what have been our personal political helmsmen doing? They have been busy hoarding the palliatives, growing Worth Added Tax (VAT) and electrical energy tariff, not minding the damaging ripple results these have on the delicate economic system.
“Now, we’re confronted with an escalating inflation fee that has spiralled to over 14 per cent whereas the exchange fee has hit N472 per greenback! With these a number of companies will certainly crumble. Maybe, it’s all as a result of they don’t spend a kobo of their stolen wealth to purchase gas, pay for electrical energy and even purchase uncooked meals objects available in the market.
“For me, this is nothing but sheer cruelty. They do not wear the same shoes as we do and therefore, do not know where they pinch us”! That was classic Andrew, my buddy of over twenty years venting his anger.
“Calm down, Andrew, because this is one of the spin-off effects of the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry”. I started to clarify however solely acquired Andrew’s feelings triggered off.
“Mr. Baje, you need to know that you’re one of many few Nigerians I respect, as a result of you’ve got constantly expressed your timeless love for the nation by your essays, lectures and contributions on topical tv applications. However please, don’t attempt to clarify or defend what these callous folks have finished. Inform me, do they perceive the that means of deregulation? In actual fact, which oil trade are you even speaking about?
“Do you mean an oil industry which boasts of four comatose refineries, on which they claim to spend billions of Naira every blessed month for the never-ending turn-around maintenance, without producing a drop of refined petrol? Do you mean an industry reflecting a rental state where the NNPC workers keep being paid for little or no meaningful work done? Do you mean an industry that has become a conduit pipe? In fact, do you consider Nigeria as an oil producing country, all? ” Andrew went on, reeling naked details and figures to place paid to any declare to the struggle in opposition to corruption within the oil trade.
And all these jogged my memory about Obi Ezekwesili’s candid opinion on the collection of pump price will increase. She referred to them as: “cosmetic price-fixing measures of this administration that it continues to wrongly call deregulation. Real deregulation and liberalization of the of the petroleum sector would result in the same kind of structural change that happened in the telecommunications sector, making it possible for the poorest to have access to mobile phone services when competition amongst private sector companies terminated the previous government’s monopoly and the costly inefficiency of NITEL’s provision of telephone services.” That makes numerous sense, doesn’t it?
In fact, it does. If the administration that promised to reactivate the refineries has failed over 5 years down the road, the place lies the belief factor, between it and the nice folks of Nigeria? If once more it now claims to have eliminated gas subsidy, which they lambasted the earlier Goodluck Jonathan-led administration of misuse, what stops it from utilizing a part of the subsidy to supply impact-making palliatives to place a smile on the faces of hapless Nigerians? Why not use a part of the subsidy to construct sturdy and steady infrastructure to behave as catalysts to spice up the economic system by employment technology? Why not unload the refineries, if actual deregulation has taken place?
Truthfully, one thing should be lacking someplace alongside the productive value chain that results in sustainable financial growth. The ache once more is that when essential selections, such because the gas price enhance is made with out the stakeholders’ enter and the federal government tries to search out excuses to justify it, such reveals nothing however a disconnect within the governance course of.
As an illustration, for the Minister of State for Petroleum Sources, Mr. Timipre Sylva to say that the brand new price is as a result of announcement of a constructive consequence within the ultimate stage trial of the coronavirus vaccine is certainly laughable! The vaccine is being developed by American pharmaceutical big, Pfizer Inc. in collaboration with BioNTech. How can we clarify the paradox of the NNPC claiming to have spent N535.9 billion on subsidy, FAAC exactly within the First Quarter 2020?
As if including gas to the raging fireplace of anger within the land, Sylva mentioned off-handedly that Nigerians will quickly get used to it. To him there was nothing mistaken with the current price of the Premium Motor Spirit(Petrol)! However no! We’re not donkeys that hold enduring the house owners’ profit-making masses on its again and transferring forward with a ‘mumu’ smile. We have now began asking how Nigeria has spent about $25 billion (N11.800 trillion) in turnaround upkeep of refineries up to now 25 years whereas the oil manufacturing amenities nonetheless stay moribund.
We would like the result of the Senate Committee on Downstream Petroleum Sector’s probe of the NNPC’s declare to have spent over $396 million(N186.912bn) between 2013 and 2015 on sustaining refineries. Once more, we’d like explanations as to how NNPC incurred a cumulative lack of N123.25 billion inside 10 months between January to October 2019, placing the overall income of the amenities at N68.82 billion whereas the overall bills incurred was N192.1 billion throughout the similar interval! It is usually our proper as tax-paying residents to grasp the patriotic considerations of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, that the nation spends a whopping N120 billion yearly on these non-performing refineries.
Certainly, Nigerians should know why they must pay an enormous sum of N170 per litre of petrol, particularly of their nation ranked as Africa’s largest oil producer and in addition house to the second-largest confirmed oil reserves in Africa. It occurs to be the 11th-largest oil producer on the planet. They need to additionally process the crop of their previous and current leaders to clarify why there’s a lot youth unemployment, job losses, decrepit infrastructure, insecurity and poverty in a land God has blessed with ‘milk and honey’.
Thus far, now we have been taken on an extended, donkey journey and sufficient is certainly, sufficient! As Andrew, my good buddy rightly acknowledged, it’s time for our so-called political leaders to put on our sneakers and really feel precisely the place they pinch us. We want credible solutions to those questions, as a result of we declare to run a democracy the place the leaders needs to be accountable to the folks and to not themselves.