Nigerian politicians had allowed Nigerian refineries to shrink and become oil storing houses and turn them to be their political campaign enticers. Nigerian refineries started becoming dilapidated with the return of democracy in 1999 and keep emaciating to inactive stage. Nigerian refineries are redundant while the country keeps importing oil and gas at high cost of prizes while thousands of the refineries engineers are made redundant that get whooping salaries at every month without doing anything.
One of the promises of the present government of Muhammadu Buhari that has changed it pace from its angle was the pledge of the government to rectify and fully recover Nigerian refineries back to their lives. President Buhari promised to “revive and reactivate our minimally performing refineries to optimum capacity and make the oil industry in Nigeria the number one of the world leading/cutting edge centres for clean oil and gas technology, also producing leading world oil and gas technologist, scientists, and owing mega structure installations, drilling, processing, and production facilities and engineers.” The president said this in his campaign promises of 2015 as his driving vision in solving the problems of the oil sector.
With only the oil storing houses, Nigeria is cutting its economic prospect and allowing a “corrupt oil subsidy” dwarfing the oil sector to prosper. Though, I could remember when Muhammadu Buhari blame former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of scam for paying oil subsidy and the president made an oath of not paying oil subsidy like his predecessor. Even though, president Muhammadu Buhari has promised to resuscitate Nigerian refineries and it is for the reason he made himself the minister of Petroleum but nothing has been achieved that deserved much adore in the oil sector as there was a time that Nigeria recorded almost six months fuel scarcity.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu made a dateline promise to stop importing oil and gas by 2019 in a plan to reorganize the Nigerian refineries. The minister said that if he failed he will resign from his position. He said ”2019 is the target time… I target 2019. If I don’t achieve it, I will walk…I put the date and I will achieve it,” the minister said this in an interview with BBC in 2017.
The government has failed in its projection and its willingness to remove a part from the fuel subsidy will increase the prize of the pump prize from N145 to dangling prizes despite the N305bn fuel subsidy proposed in 2019 budget, it will expose the inability of the government to provide a subsidize fuel prize for Nigerians as promised. On April 14, 2015, President
Buhari’s ally and former Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Prof.
Tam David-West, told Nigerians that Muhammadu Buhari will reduce the fuel pump price from N87 to N40 per litre while Tam David only add to what the President said in his campaign promise.
After the discovery of oil in Nigeria, Nigerians refineries were established to create employment and develop the economy. The first refinery to be established in Nigeria is the Alesa-Eleme, Port-Harcourt in 1965, Warri refinery in 1978, Kaduna refinery in 1980 and the Port-Harcourt refinery in 1989 while at that time when the refineries are functioning there is nothing like Oil Subsidy. Nigeria was an exporter of oil and gas just like what Niger Republic turned to. Nigeria now buys gas in huge amount from Niger Republic and allows the masses to bear it flaws.
The statement of the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed to remove the fuel subsidy in installment upon the advice of IMF for Nigerian government to remove the fuel subsidy is indicating that Nigerian government has not prepare to rectify the epileptic refineries. One thing that will light the heart of Nigerians is to know when our refineries will be on set. The International Monetary Fund sees fuel subsidy as a scam as the way Muhammadu Buhari looked at it during Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Fuel subsidy is business venture of enriching a specific group while the negligence to put our refineries to action keeps flourishing corruption. The Government wants to curtail its spending but it will not agog well for the government to put its task on the people to pay the prize of its failure.
Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim, Kaduna
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