Stakeholders seek deregulation of petroleum industry
Want modular refineries legalised, monopoly of Dangote refinery discouraged
Stakeholders in the transport sector have proffered solutions to effects of fuel subsidy removal. They said government must provide infrastructure, such as power, and a multi-modal transportation system. They also sought deregulation of the petroleum industry, asking government to work with genuine operators of modular refineries and discourage monopoly of the sector by Dangote refinery.
They spoke, yesterday, at a virtual national roundtable, organised by Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIOTA), with the theme, ‘Fuel Subsidy Removal Conundrum: National Consensus on Removal but Cacophony on how to Achieve it.’
Professor of Transport and Logistics, Lagos State University (LASU), Samuel Odewumi, said there must be rehabilitation of distribution infrastructure, security, logistics and supply chain of petrol
Odewumi, who doubles as Chairman, Road Sector Committee, CIOTA, pleaded with organised labour and government to enter negotiation, having at the back of their minds sufferings of the masses.
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Prof. Innocent Ogwude, said there are concerns about non-existence of fuel subsidy on freight cost, insurance, customs and other administrative costs, which determine landing cost in the country.
He said Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) has always disclosed landing cost, with many people in disputation. He said fuel subsidy exists only in petroleum pricing policy.
Ogwude said, to address this issue, government should discourage monopoly by Dangote refinery, because increase in price would be devastating.
He also urged government to encourage and legalise modular refineries and deregulate the petroleum sector, thereby, allowing competition from other players.
He said encouraging other people to go into fuel production, as well as reviving existing refineries, would reduce the price of petrol. Ogwude said the petroleum industry should be allowed to fix pricing through forces of demand and supply, while suggesting that government replace the NNPC management with a new team that understands fuel subsidy regime.
Former President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele, said trust deficit of government plays a role in people demanding strike actions. He pointed at corruption in the system, saying the public is unaware of the actual number of litres consumed in the country. According to him, inability of the country to track the movement of petrol tankers gives few people avenue to enrich themselves. Esele said removal of fuel subsidy, of which government spends over $7 billion yearly, would benefit the country in forex earnings.