Tuesday, 14 July 2015

No decision yet on subsidy removal – Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari
John Ameh and Olalekan Adetayo
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he has
not taken a decision on the removal of subsidies
on refined petroleum products as being suggested
in many quarters.
Instead, the President said he had decided to
handle the matter with care because most of the
presentations he had received on the need to
remove the subsidies had no depth.
According to a statement by the Senior Special
Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President,
Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari made his position
known after receiving a briefing from the Ministry
of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation and other agencies in the
oil sector at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on
Monday.
Shehu said the President told members of the
delegation that he would carefully review all the
submissions he had received on the need to
remove the subsidies.
Buhari was quoted as saying, “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 rise 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.”
The President said subsidies were not necessarily
the most serious problems in the nation’s oil and
gas sector.
Rather, he identified lack of security, sabotage,
vandalism, corruption and mismanagement as the
bane of the industry.
“We have to go back to the good old days of
transparency and accountability,” the President
said.
He, therefore, directed the NNPC to review
existing agreements for the swapping of crude oil
for refined products.
The review, he said, was necessary in order to
inject more honesty and transparency into the
process so as to reduce costs.
Buhari also asked the NNPC management to do
more to improve the supply of Liquefied
Petroleum Gas (cooking gas).
Similarly, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, said on
Monday that the only legal way the Federal
Government could permanently remove the
subsidy on petroleum products was to initiate an
amendment to the Price Control Act or have it
repealed entirely by the National Assembly.
He noted that in the schedules to the Act,
petroleum products were listed among the items
to be regulated through pricing.
Dogara also stated that an alternative was for the
government to inaugurate the price control board
provided for in the Act so that in performing its
functions, the board could remove petroleum
products from the list.
“This is the most legal way to do it so that
subsidy can go permanently; it is not by policy
pronouncements alone, it is for the government to
quickly put the board in place and in a way this
issue can be done with once and for all”, the
Speaker added.
Dogara spoke in Abuja when he received a
delegation of members of the Independent
Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria at the
National Assembly.
The delegation was led by the President of the
association, Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo.

Source: Punch


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