Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan,Friday, allayed the fears on the state of the Nigerian economy, saying “the country is not broke.’’
Jonathan affirmed this during a media chat that was relayed live on the network service of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
He stressed that the plan to remove petroleum subsidy was not because the country was broke, adding that it was to save funds to improve the country’s infrastructure for the benefit of the future generation.
“Deregulation is not because government is broke. The Nigerian Government is not broke but if we do not manage the economy properly, what has happened to other countries will happen to us.
“We are not broke, but as a responsible father, you save for your children; as a responsible father you must prepare for your children.
“Developed countries plan for their grandchildren, not to talk of their children.
“But here in Nigeria, it is a country where we feel that every money we generate must be spent, not minding the future,’’ he said.
The President noted that experts’ opinions on Nigeria’s oil reserves indicated that the nation’s oil reserves would dry off in the next 50 years.
“If our reserves are going to dry up in the next 50 years, what will be the options for our children and grandchildren?’’ he asked.
Besides, Jonathan said that the deregulation policy would address the menace of corruption in the petroleum sector.
According to him, if fuel subsidy is removed, it will prevent the few Nigerians, who are ripping off the country through the loopholes, from doing so.
He pledged that government would be transparent in utilising the funds which would accrue from the deregulation of the petroleum sector, while ensuring its use for the benefits of every Nigerian.
The President also stressed that the deregulation of the petroleum sector would open up the market for private investors to come in and build refineries.
Jonathan, nonetheless, disclosed that the Federal Government had already awarded contract for the turn-around-maintenance of the four existing refineries to the companies that originally built them.
He appealed to Nigerians to bear the pains that they would suffer at the beginning of the policy and assured them that that it would yield positive results in the long run.