Subsidy removal will end fuel scarcity – Sen. Marafa
The Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (upstream), Sen. Kabir Marafa, has called for the removal of oil susbsidy to end the lingering scarcity of the product in the country.
Marafa (APC Zamfara-Central), who stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, also called for the deregulation of the oil sector.
He said that the unending subsidy claims were as a result of the non-deregulation of the sector.
According to him, fuel meant for Nigeria is being diverted to other African countries where it sells at a higher price.
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“With all sense of responsibility, I think Nigerians need to stand up and say enough of this hypocrisy.
“This thing called fuel subsidy, I don’t believe there is one, I don’t believe it is benefitting the masses and it doesn’t help them in any way as far as I am concerned.
“So long as fuel is selling at a lower price than some other neighbouring countries, you will continue to have fuel going through the borders out.
“Until they get enough (neighbouring countries), before the local markets become satisfied.
“If Nigerians want to help this incoming administration and if this incoming administration wants to help I think we need to look at the issue of this subsidy and do away with it once and for all.
“If you deregulate the market, you allow whoever wants to bring petroleum products into the country to go ahead and bring it, you regulate only, fuel will not sell as much as it is selling now.’’
He cited the transformation in the telecommunication sector from near comatose landlines to the GSM phones that had reached even the remotest areas in Nigeria as an example.
“Before it , everyone will tell you that if there is no NITEL, common man will not make call, but today even in remote villages you have people with telephones.
“`So also with this fuel thing, we may suffer in the first one month, two month, but as the thing starts taking its roots, these things will all go away, our local refineries will start functioning.
“If you do it that way also, you will see, all these cartels will go.’’
He said that with the deregulation, prices would stabilise and petroleum products would be readily available and competition would force down the price of the commodity.
NAN reports that fuel subsidy payment was not captured in the 2015 Budget that was passed by the National Assembly on April 28.