Why FG Can’t Stop Fuel Scarcity Now
Nigeria News take a look at the dwindling fuel situation in the country and why it may take time to solve the problem.
The regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo would have put an end to fuel scarcity if it had lived beyond 2007 but it failed because it was too late for the government to get its acts together.
Having realized the problems bedevilling the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation then, the Obasanjo’s regime was bent on deregulating the oil sector and in its first move, the government in 2007, sold two refineries to Dangote and Company (Bluestar Consortium).
However, the same year that Obasanjo quit and handed over power to President Umoru Musa Yar’Adua, vested interests pushed for the reversal of the sale while NNPC claimed to have the capacity to run the refineries efficiently.
President Yar’Adua’s government reversed the sale and refunded $721 million to Dangote and Company.
When it became apparent that the Yar’Adua government could not repair the four national refineries and clearers that NNPC could not run the oil sector alone, former President Obasanjo became curious on why his idea was thrown into the dustbin.
He reportedly asked Yar’Adua why he reversed the sale but the late president replied that he reversed the deregulating policy due to pressure from some quarters.
Quoting Obasanjo in his rely to Yar’Adua, “So, the pressure of some people was more important than the interest of the whole nation!”
In 2017/2018, over a DECADE later, the government-owned refineries remain largely comatose.
In 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, through the Minister of State for Petroleum, begged Dangote, the same man who was snubbed by the Federal Government, to complete his private refinery before 2019 because the refinery is strategic to ending fuel importation.
CONCLUSION: NNPC lacks the capacity to run government-owned refineries efficiently. However, there are forces who will never pray that the NNPC is sold.
They are still around the present government and they lurk around for their selfish gains. An investigation revealed that these oil magnates and their cohorts in the public service have a way of pocketing the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, NUPENG, PENGASSAN and other labour unions to resist any attempt by Federal Government to sell the NNPC.
Let us save the citizenry the pain and misery of fuel queues. Let’s save the nation the billions and trillions of naira spent on fuel subsidy which could be used to address other pressing challenges. That has been the song of those who are privy to the politics that is presently going on in the oil sector.
To the government, there is need to sell the refineries now so as to totally deregulate the oil sector.
To the National Assembly, there is need to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill now.
If Obasanjo’s privatization had stayed, the country probably wouldn’t be talking about fuel importation today and the economy would have fared better considering that a large chunk of forex which goes into the trade would have been saved. So our fate is in Dangote’s hands since Buhari does not have the will to sell off the refineries.
At present, only the NNPC imports the Premium Motor Spirit, (Petrol) and it has failed to supply enough fuel to depots and filling stations. This is the major cause of fuel scarcity as the Major and Independent oil marketers cannot afford the current state of forex to bring oil to the country.