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Ezekwesili urges deregulation of oil sector

By Kehinde Olatunj
13 November 2018   |   4:00 am
The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has called for the deregulation of the oil sector to boost the country’s economy...

Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) presidential candidate, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, (left); National Chairman, Alhaji Gani Galadima; National Secretary, Paul Isanade, and National Auditor, Dave Okagbue, at the unveiling of Ezekwesili’s manifesto in Lagos… yesterday. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has called for the deregulation of the oil sector to boost the country’s economy.

She, however, alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance (PIG) Bill was an act of corruption and means to amass funds for himself.

The former minister of education also posited that if the sector had been subjected to the competition and discipline of the market, it would have aided the development and growth of the country.

According to her, the N1.3 trillion disclosed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, that the Federal Government spends yearly on fuel subsidy was a waste of resources.

She said this was almost the same amount that the current government spent on constructing roads, equipping hospitals with medicine, funding the universities and working on power.

Ezekwesili, who spoke yesterday at a press conference to tell Nigerians how she would get 80 million Nigerians out of poverty, hinted that in less than 20 years, most of the oil resources would have dried up and no use for governments to relying on them.

She said: “Another difficult reform which we are committed to implementing is the oil sector reform. When I read somewhere that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed that the Federal Government spends about N1.3 trillion yearly on under-recovery, which is the new name that this government has given to fuel subsidy, I was astonished.

“It is stagnating our economy and impoverishing our people. Just imagine for a second how much good an ACPN government can do with an extra N1.3 trillion to spend on our mission to pull out citizens from poverty. It is not enough for the fuel subsidy to go; our government will also deregulate the entire oil sector, including the NNPC, and ensure it is subjected to the competition and discipline of the market. I have no interest in becoming the president of the NNPC when there are more important things begging for attention. Countries are moving away from oil.

“So, how can a reasonable government be so bothered with signing oil licences when there is fire on the mountain? President Buhari is so interested in grabbing power and keeping it for himself that he has even refused to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).”