Senate panel chief gives condition for fuel subsidy removal
Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream sector), Barau Jibril, has said those who genuinely love President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration would not advise him to remove the subsidy on petrol now.
According to Jibril (APC, Kano State), the most pressing issue to which government should accord priority at the moment is total elimination of corruption from the petroleum sector, before subsidy removal.
Jibril, in an interview with The Guardian in Abuja, stated that ordinary people in Nigeria would lose so much should the government remove subsidy on petrol without first effectively tackling the corruption in the oil industry.
To him, the attention of government should be on achieving those things that will enhance the welfare of the ordinary people who, he noted, contributed more in putting the current government in place.
The lawmaker stated that the corruption in the oil industry had created a situation where a few people connived with officials of government to divert the advantages that ought to have accrued to the people from the partial deregulation of the petroleum industry.
He said should President Buhari succumb to pressure to remove fuel subsidy prematurely without sorting out corruption issues in the oil sector, some persons in the name of oil marketers would form a cartel to perfect some bad marketing strategies that would throw Nigerians into untold hardship.
The Senate committee boss alleged that some politicians were pushing government into imposing a regime of “no fuel subsidy” because of their hidden political agenda. Jibril, who noted that support for Buhari has always come from the grassroots, said that once the fuel subsidy is removed, Buhari’s government would immediately run into “serious unpopularity”, especially with the common man.
The Senator condemned calls for outright sale of petrol refineries, pointing out that once the issue of corruption is sorted out, the refineries could be made to operate in full capacity.
“If we look closely at the situation in Nigeria’s oil sector, it is ironical that we have oil and we continue to wallow in poverty. We now even pay higher prices for fuel than those in countries without oil.