February 1, 2023

Fuel scarcity: ACF backs removal of subsidy 


By Ibrahim Hassan,Kaduna 

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said that the best way for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL)to make fuel readily available to Nigerians is for the subsidy to be completely removed. 

Secretary-General of the ACF, Murtala Aliyu said in an interview said, frowning at the idea of borrowing money to pay for subsidies, saying the government has been shying away from the issue of subsidy and that was where the problem resides.

“For as long as we continue to import fuel, we have to  subsidize it and  doing so, will certainly  make government resources continue to be limited.”

“We all know that Petrol; diesel, kerosene and gas are all utilities. Like we buy firewood, pay for water and pay for electricity if we want to use it, we should pay for petrol too. It will definitely put a cost on transportation and other things but, that is the reality of the situation,” he said.

He said, “if a subsidy is removed, there would be enough resources to provide for the security of lives and property of the citizens;  education,  health care etc, I support an open market for  marketers to do the importation and sell freely.”

“I am sure if this is done, the rate will crash because products will be available. And certainly, issue of price hikes will be over. Let the market forces of demand and supply determine price of goods and services .” 

The ACF Scribe called on the Management of NNPCL to intensify efforts to ensure that fuel queues at filling stations across Nigeria disappear.

On NNPC under Mele Kyari, he said,” If you’re talking about the performance of the NNPCL or the oil sector generally, I think since the Buhari administration came up, we have had less problem with fuel queues until recently. “

On the discovery of oil in the north, he said there is no exciting  news of about oil discovery in the north .”In the first place, the issue of discovering oil should not be a competitive  matter, but  something that the whole country should be happy with.”

“I can tell you that if for any reason we discovered oil anywhere within the country, we should all be happy because,  it’s an additional resource that will help provide more jobs, and lead to sustainable growth and development. If there is oil in commercial quantity found  inland, it should not be used for export, but processed for internal consumption.”

“We can have modular refineries all around to produce the crude oil discovered in Gombe and Bauchi states. And where there is gas, we should use it for the generation of energy instead of looking at it from the export dimensions. And if it  becomes abundant, even our neighbours can now benefit.”

 “It shouldn’t be about export or 13 per cent derivation,but about the fact that there are enough resources for the country, for the population to enjoy. We in the ACF are not expressing undue excitement about oil discovery in the north.”

“People look at things politically, they think the north needs to also measure up because they see you as not producing anything. If you look at the Nigerian GDP, Oil is responsible for less  than 10 per cent,  which means there is something else keeping the country together like agriculture.”

“Secondly, agriculture provides more employment than any other sector which means they engage the economy more than the oil sector .I think not just oil, but any other resources that could help the teeming masses to be more comfortable and  wealthier. ,I think government should embark on exploration of such resources,” he said.