By Gabriel Ewepu
AS Nigerians continue to react to subsidy removal, an energy policy development expert, Dr Ayodele Oni, Tuesday, tasked the Nigerian media on post-subsidy reportage and monitoring for accountability and transparency in the benefit of Nigerians.
Oni who virtually presented a paper titled ‘Dangote Refinery, Subsidy and the Future of Oil and Gas in Nigeria’, at a two-day workshop for journalists tagged ‘Natural Resource and Extractive Programme, NAREP, 2023 Media Fellowship’, organised by the Center for Journalists and Innovative Development, CJID, pointed out that the completion and commissioning of Dangote Refinery was a new vista opened to unlock the Nigeria oil and gas in different ways to the benefit of the Nigerian economy.
He also said the issue of subsidy removal was long overdue based on the huge sums government had spent on subsidy over the years, but stated that the government should put in place measures that would ensure Nigerians directly benefit from the removal.
Meanwhile, on the post-subsidy removal process, the media should get into the process to make sure government should be made accountable to the people on every money spent for Nigerians to benefit.
He said: “On infrastructure development, the media should focus on the utilization of funds saved from subsidy removal that are allocated to infrastructure development. There should be timely reports on the progress and impact of investments.
“On Social welfare programmes; Assess the effectiveness of social safety nets out in place to mitigate immediate impacts of subsidy removal on vulnerable population. Investigate whether these programmes are reaching the intended beneficiaries and report on any gaps or challenges in their implementation.”
However, he (Oni) tasked the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, on effective oversight functions to ensure they punish erring marketers who have arbitrarily increased pump price of PMS while they are selling subsidized product.
“The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority needs to exercise its oversight functions and punish erring marketers sell already subsidized PMS at exorbitant prices.
“Also the NMDPRA has a tariff and pricing mandate as provided in the Petroleum Industry Act, the Authority should endeavour to regulate or provide some guidance on pricing in order to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.”