Nigeria: Liberalisation, Local Refining Solution to Fuel Scarcity – Former Minister

Former Minister of Interior and foremost maritime operator, Emmanuel Iheanacho, has said that liberation and local refining of crude oil in the country was the solution to petroleum scarcity in the country.

Speaking with Vanguard in his Lagos office, Iheanacho said liberalisation wouldresult in more investors coming into the industry, a decision that will lead to a fall in prices as well as the availability of the products, especially Petroleum Motor Spirit, PMS.

He said: “I think that the lasting solution is for the government to liberalize and deregulate the sector. If we continue to regulate the sector, in terms of determining what volumes we are going to bring in, there is going to be shortages all the time.

“So, if we allow that, market forces will intervene. So, this is an opportunity to supply profitably because people will want to invest. If many investors pour into the market, the price will fall. So, we should really stop the business of providing subsidies in respect of PMS.

“Subsidy does not benefit poor people rather it creates greater difficulty for them. The people, who really benefit from the administration of subsidies are people who can afford to buy fuel at market rates.

“So, we really need to consider deregulation as quickly as possible, complete removal of subsidy, the encouragement of free competition. The government’s role will be to regulate the quality that is supplied.”

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