Corruption, Insecurity Bane Of Oil Sector, Not Subsidies – Buhari | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Corruption, Insecurity Bane Of Oil Sector, Not Subsidies – Buhari

Posted: Jul 13, 2015 at 1:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday dismissed calls for removal of oil subsidies as lacking in depth, arguing that insecurity and corruption were bigger problems in need of attention than deregulation.

The President bared his mind on the long-standing national question of removal of subsidies in the petroleum sector when he was briefed by officials of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other agencies in the oil sector.

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

The briefing held behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, after which an Aso Rock statement quoted Buhari as saying he would carefully review all the submissions he had received on the need to remove the subsidies although most of them seem unnecessary.

His position seems to point to the fact that the current administration would not deregulate the downstream petroleum sector as the past administration of Goodluck Jonathan had attempted to do in January 2012 but was forced to backpedal following widespread street protests.

“I have received many literature on the need to remove subsidies, but much of it has no depth.

“When you touch the price of petroleum products, that has the effect of triggering price rises on transportation, food and rents.”

“That is for those who earn salaries, but there are many who are jobless and will be affected by it”, said the President who therefore promised to handle the issue with care this time around.

Buhari stressed that the lack of security, sabotage, vandalism, corruption and mismanagement, not necessarily subsidies, are the most serious problems of Nigeria’s oil sector.

He promised to deal decisively with all identified problems of the oil and gas sector, declaring that “we have to go back to the good old days of transparency and accountability”.

The President directed the NNPC to review existing agreements for the swapping of crude oil for refined products with a view to injecting more honesty and transparency into the process to reduce costs.

He also asked the NNPC management to do more to improve the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (cooking gas), according to the statement issued by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.