AND I SAY… LET THE DEREGULATION BEGIN

Lately, the media has been fraught with the conspiracy by the leaders of the biggest black nation to deregulate it’s crude oil products thus removing fuel subsidies. The bizzare explanation for a diabolical plot (that would see the poor poorer and the already stupendously rich richer) has being attributed to the fact that few individuals benefit from the subsidy of the fuel product, at the expense of the whole nation. Leaving me to ask, did the government just wake up from it’s slumber to realize it has a massive leak in the national treasury?

As a nation that exports crude oil products, one of the top eight exporters worldwide, it is an acute amazement that we do not have one functional refinery. In the early 80s, three refineries were built, but that was just for show. Because according to our culture of zero maintenance, these refineries along with the others the country had, have been worked out of operation without the government thinking that maybe, just maybe fixing those refineries and building new ones would form the basis for a lasting solution to this concurrent problem the nation addresses amongst many other ills.

Over the last decade, the government has increased pump price at least thrice, sparking off bouts of national strike actions declared by the labour union. At a time, the strike action lasted for almost two weeks before both the labour union and the government agreed to a compromise in the pump price of fuel products. And so the government scored a massive away goal, that would see them advance on an away goals rule. The negotiation had been drawn, but the government got what it wanted, and the people had to make adjustments in their lives. How they did that, government could care less.

Then came the issue of fuel tax. Frankly, I as a Nigerian am still interested in where that money went and how it was used to better the lot of Nigerians. At 50kobo for every litre purchased, it seemed an irrelevant taxation format. However, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. The taxing regime lasted a month before it was abolished and thrown out by the judiciary. At that time, at the very least, 100millions litres of fuel would have been sold nationally, multiplied by the money deducted as tax, well, I’ll leave the calculation to the reader.

As a country that claims it wants to be amongst the top twenty world economies by the year 2020, Nigeria is a comedy show that has the best punchlines. First, there are no statistical records of all the salient information the country and it’s citizens require. Instead we are treated to vague generalizations by a government who understands that misleading its people is the best way to deprive them of their fundamental rights. And we the citizens are none the wiser.

With public primary education all but extinct, public secondary schools suffering an epilepsy it may never recover from, and the state and federal universities keeping students out than in every passing year due to strike action against the government, our education sector is already in shambles. Enter the private schools.

That our roads are deplorable is a massive understatement that begs a derisive laughter. We don’t have roads. Power is another knotty if not forgone issue. We have learnt to live our lives without power supply, becoming instead our own independent power suppliers. Thank God for generators and fuel.

Our government has decided to remove subsidies on fuel prices because according to them, they have spent N1.3tr up till now,as against the N240b it expected to spend the entire year. My questions to the administration is, whose fault is that? Why do we have refineries that don’t work yet export the best crude oil out of the country, only to import the finished product at exorbitant prices that is gradually stifling the country to death.

From history, it has been duly noted that when a Nigerian government wants something, it usually gets it. One way or another, without a worry how its policy affects the average individual on the streets. According to them, they already had that person’s best interest at heart. So let us stop bickering, all these grandstanding will amount to nothing. Let the deregulation exercise begin, so that collectively as a nation, we will move on to the next national disaster.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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