Friday, May 20, 2016

Nigerians as lab rats for Buhari’s fuel scarcity experiments

By Umar Sa’ad Hassan

I haven’t forgotten that vandalism was initially given as the reason for the fuel scarcity. We were meant to believe vandals and saboteurs plunged us into this mess.

I haven’t forgotten that upon assumption of office, Mr President promised that our refineries would be fully up and running by the end of August 2015.

I have also not forgotten that in November last year, the sum of N413bn was approved as payments for oil marketers and the Group General Manager, Public Affairs division of the NNPC, Mr Ohi Alegbe told us it was in consonance with the zero tolerance policy of the government towards fuel queues nationwide. He also hoped at that time that the payment would ensure marketers joined hands with the NNPC to ensure the country stays wet with petroleum products all year long.

I haven’t forgotten that the NNPC released a statement as recently as the 29th of February this year to the effect that it had secured the  commitment of the MOMAN (Major oil marketers of Nigeria) leadership to help end the fuel scarcity.

I haven’t forgotten that the government removed fuel subsidy in January 2016 and later reverted to subsidizing fuel for N13 per litre barely three months later.

And last but not least, I haven’t forgotten that Mr President’s ‘deputy’ Petroleum Minister, Ibe Kachikwu promised the scarcity would be over by May this year. These all add up to one thing-the President and his team are very confused.

The entire approach of the federal government to the fuel scarcity issue can at best be refered to as trial and error.There was no definite plan of action, rather what it kept doing was experimenting at the expense of innocent nigerians who have more or less being turned into lab rats.

Now, the government has hiked fuel price to N145 and the junior petroleum minister is telling us the scarcity is due to the oil marketers’ inability to source foreign exchange and to also open letters of credit and I ask: Which marketers?.

Read more here.

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