Petroleum sub-sector deregulation, good for Nigerians, ex-APC spokesman

A former South-East Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Hycienth Ngwu, has urged Nigerians to support Federal Government’s total deregulation of petroleum sub-sector and removal of petroleum subsidy.

Ngwu made the call while speaking with newsmen in Enugu on Thursday following President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day Address as Nigeria marks her 60th Independence Anniversary.

Buhari had in the address, made a clear comparison of Nigeria’s official N161 per litre price of petroleum and what other oil-producing countries within Africa and Saudi Arabia pay per litre.

In his comparison, Buhari said, “Chad, an oil-producing country charges N362 per litre. Niger, also an oil-producing country sells a litre at N346. In Ghana, another oil-producing country, petroleum is N326 per litre; Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.”

Ngwu in an interview with TNC correspondent noted that the huge claims and money paid on petroleum subsidy each month and accumulation at the end of the year should be freed up for other salient and germane developmental and infrastructural needs.

According to him, as can be clearly seen from President Buhari’s comparisons, Nigeria still pays the least per litre for petroleum even as the government removed the subsidy.

“While the previous subsidy payment, making petroleum products be under-priced in the country, leads to hoarding and diversion of the product to nearby countries to the detriment of the Nigeria people and her government,” he said.

The APC chieftain noted that it was regrettable that the global COVID-19 pandemic had made the country lose about 60 per cent of its revenues and slowed the economy down.

“What this development suggests is that the deliverables within the proposed 2021 National Budget (which is N13.08 trillion) would only be achieved with serious fiscal and economic discipline.

“The country needs to harness and mop-up all resources and revenue that should come to it and our people must face the reality that the government may no longer subsidize some services and products.

“There is a need to check all forms of wasteful and senseless spendings such as petroleum subsidies and its likes,” he said.

Ngwu also urged Nigerians to be positive on issues concerning the country.

“Nigerians should pray, project and say things positive concerning the nation. It will surely get well since the Buhari-led administration is building on the trajectory of massive development of the nation. We also have to show love and tolerance to one another as President Buhari has enjoined.

“It is just sheer wickedness and colossal waste to continue with in-fighting and pushing artificial-cum-politically induced violence, arson and killings.

“One wonders what someone who is always thinking on how to destroy, cause pain and kill gains from such endeavour; when peace is more beneficial to all,” he said.

The former APC spokesman, however, lauded Buhari for an independence address that captures deep reflection on the nation as a president, father and leader, who had seen and felt it all.

“I must commend Nigerians for this Diamond Jubilee Anniversary and our resolve to `stay together’ as an indivisible entity with one destiny,’’ he added.

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