It was disturbing to read yesterday that the Federal Government is planning to fully deregulate the petroleum sector and allow fuel to sell for as much as N140 per litre. Very saddening development, especially as it doesn’t need to get to this.
The fuel scarcity is mainly as a result of the fact that all our government owned refineries are in a state of disrepair. Government has tried repeatedly to repair those refineries, but I guess that because of a fantastic case of corruption, the refineries keep ‘mysteriously’ returning to a state of disrepair.
Some people are making mad money importing fuel into this country, and those people don’t want to stop, even when Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest exporters of crude oil.
Because of the greed of a few, things are about to get very hard for the average Nigerian, and the middle class is about to be wiped off the economic map of Nigeria.
Soon a lot of people will be leaving their cars at home, but that will not even help them much because public transport fares will get even more expensive. The food seller in your neighbourhood will add the increased cost of transportation to the price of their foodstuffs while if you are a worker, your boss is unlikely to increase your salary, simply because business is not moving like before.
Nigerians, survival is about to get tougher. Soon some people will find that they are spending a majority of their monthly salary on transportation to work, with little left for feeding and savings for any emergency. I pity families that may have big health emergencies during this period. Money is tight and I pray they will be able to get help if they don’t have the money to pay for necessary medication.
Hospital owners will smile a lot less,because salaries of doctors and nurses have to be paid, from patients bills. School owners may not be ready to grant extensions to kids whose parents haven’t paid school fees, as getting money to pay teachers is not what it used to be.
All these because the price of one commodity is about to sky rocket. But it doesn’t need to sky rocket. In the South East and South South, their are operators of private refineries that the Federal Government refuses to encourage.
The Government says these refineries are illegal and frequently closes them down. Last week, no less that 13 of them that were closed down by Civil Defence. Why not just legalise them and create standards they must adhere to?
I say it again: that the suffering about to hit millions of Nigerians over fuel price increase is not necessary and can be easily averted if the Federal Government quickly legalises the so-called íllegal refineries, as these private refineries can easily bring down the fuel price by tomorrow