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Fuel Subsidy: Stakeholders Call For Deregulation Of Oil And Gas Sector

Stakeholders have once again called on the Federal government to exit the subsidy regime and allow the market to operate a free system.

The stakeholders made the call at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference which entered its second day in Abuja yesterday

They also commended the National Assembly for passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) but advised the executive to reconsider its stand and sign the bill.

Managing Director of Oando Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu, lamented that the $5 billion spent by the country on fuel subsidy in 2019 was no longer sustainable going forward.

The sum, he said represents funds that could have been used to finance other critical infrastructure needed by the vast majority of the populace.

He called on all stakeholders to support the deregulation of the oil and gas sector and discourage the practice in order to engender growth.

According to him, other critical sectors of the economy, including education and health among others, were in need of funding, adding that such amount expended on subsidy could have been channelled to other critical sectors or towards infrastructure development.

“The government has chosen to effectively subsidise the price as a social palliative. Not that I support it, but we spent $5 billion on subsidy last year, which was even more than what we spent on education and housing combined.

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At a population growth rate of three per cent, the question is what is the best – to invest in infrastructure or consumption? There is a big debate that has to be made around this and as stakeholders, we absolutely need to champion that debate with the Federal government.

“The politicians want this to continue at all cost, but there is long-term damage we are doing to our country and industry.

“We need to ensure that these subsidies are altered and the downstream sector needs to be commercialised. The refineries need to function and the pipelines must also be able to deliver products. There is no logic in transporting our products by road which is extremely expensive.”

Tinubu while commending the efforts of the outgoing Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), also lauded the recent appointment of Mr. Mele Kyari as the new Group Managing Director of the NNPC, describing him as an astute technocrat.

Source: The Sun

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