Looming And Persistent Fuel Crisis in Nigeria
The question, should we be “reactive” or “proactive”? is one that must be answered. One can conclude that we Nigerians are naturally “reactive” in nature; this narrative can be challenged by anyone who feels otherwise. It seems like a trend in Nigeria, we wait until situations are completely out of control before we respond, our approach is rather too slow in preventing virtually anything that is deteriorating and we seem very comfortable with it. Most times we wait for things to get completely bad, then begin to quote billions of naira to fix so we can have our “cuts”.
This depicts how wasteful we can be because it is more expensive to fix a spoilt system than preventing it from being spoilt. As it is popularly said, “prevention is better than cure”.
The question in the minds of several Nigerians will be, “is this scarcity “artificial” or “genuine”? Is it “man-made” or “natural”? The answers to these questions are there in the public domain.
Consider the situation where a body or a group decides to hold the whole nation to ransom because of the perceived privileged positions they are occupying, taking undue advantage of the people’s mandate.
The mistakes have been made in time past and no one is taking any drastic measure to correct it as it is business as usual. That very moment the Nigerian government prefers to export the crude oil and import refined petroleum products marks the beginning of that unquantifiable greed and selfishness bedevilling the petroleum sector. It is logically insane for a country to have 4 (four) functional refineries, huge crude oil deposits, able-bodied manpower and favourable weather conditions, yet cannot refine what they consume.
The question, who are the economic advisers? Who made such suggestions? How did they arrive at such conclusions? Etc. One will be tempted to think if they were properly educated and well-exposed.
An average Nigeria who owns a business will be able to distinguish between a bad and good advice. This brings me to the point where the will to do the right thing is intentionally side-lined by the powers that be.
Qatar is the richest country on Earth. They are among the oil exporting countries. They have the same crude oil Nigerians have. The question will be, why are things working in Qatar and they aren’t in Nigeria? Qatar produces more than 90% of what they consume, they have a comprehensive statistics of their daily consumptions and that demand is met and surpass on a daily basis to the extent, they export the excess. The Nigeria situation is such that, it created a very humane environment for corruption to thrive, especially in the aspect of fuel importation. Though, the country has succeeded in removing the so-called fuel subsidy to curb corruption. Steps should be taken to fix the refineries and put a stop to fuel importation and one will notice a natural decline in the corruption bedevilling the petroleum industry.
Nigerians must learn how to live within their means, cut down the cost of governance. The major players in the real sector are busy amassing wealth and buying up properties abroad and investing massively in other countries, boosting the economies of those countries at the expense of the Nigeria economy which is being depleted. These players avoid such investments in Nigeria because their sources of money are proceeds from sharp practices and these help in boosting the economies of other developed countries as they spend these monies, making their countries conducive and attractive for foreign investors. I termed this “modern-day slavery”.
The fuel scarcity in Nigeria is likened to the popular adage that says, “when two elephants are fighting, the grass suffers”. Unfortunately, ordinary Nigerians are the same people that will bear the consequences. The independent marketers and NNPC are all showing off strength to determine who is superior to whom?
One has the product, the other has the medium, hence, when one has the product and do not have the medium to transport the product, they can’t have values for the products. Conversely, if the other has the medium and do not have the product, what then are they transporting?
The receiver who is at the centre suffers. It takes sincerity, honesty and the political will to resolve this quagmire.