The movement of the price of the gasoline pump to 170 naira per liter, once again, threatens to break our economic and industrial harmony. This followed the increase by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, of the PMS wholesale price from N147 to N155.
What it means is that between June and November of this year, Nigerians have been forced to cough up extra N61 per liter at a time when they are still struggling with economic woes stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and skyrocketing inflationary costs. , especially from food. .
Unsurprisingly, the Nigerian Labor Congress, NLC; the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA; and other organized groups within the economy have lamented the increased suffering this will bring.
The State Oil Resources Minister, Timipre Sylva, has already discredited the idea that this is another increase in fuel from the Federal Government. He reminded us that, after the total deregulation of the downstream sector, the prices of refined products are destined to rise and fall in response to changes in the international market.
He also blamed the rise in prices on the rise in crude oil prices due to the discovery of a COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer.
No explanation from the government can exonerate it from its inability to solve the age-old problems of our oil sector. He had committed to reforming the sector by fighting corruption, reviving refineries, and facilitating the establishment of modular refineries. By the way, President Muhammadu Buhari has been the minister in charge of that portfolio.
However, almost six years into his tenure, the situation he faced in 2015 remains the same. The only notable change in the sector is a poorly executed “deregulation” that still maintains the NNPC as the sole importer of petroleum products and dictator of wholesale prices.
We have been fervent supporters of deregulation, but not the way this regime has handled it. Deregulation of the industry without first making Nigeria self-sufficient in local refining of petroleum products is a failure of governance. Deregulation amid the continuous monopoly of the importation of products by the NNPC is a total abandonment of the citizenry that suffers at the whims of the international oil market.
The government just wants to harvest money from the people and spend instead of doing the dirty work of reforming the sector and fixing our refineries.
Unfortunately, Organized Labor, which people have come to admire for pressuring the Federal Government to do its job, has not met our expectations.
There are no alternatives to make Nigeria self-sufficient in local refining of petroleum products. We must fix our refineries and build new ones. Only in present-day Nigeria is such an elementary science made to appear Herculean.
Source: – Vanguard