Wetin Be Deregulation Sef...A Term That Makes Fuel Disappear?

Source: Prince Charles Dickson, Jos Plateau-burningpot.com
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I once watched with bemusement, a deaf and dumb boy who caught his mom with a stranger in bed. When his father came home, the poor young boy was at loss on how to communicate his discovery. After several futile attempts, the boy ceased trying. The father on the other hand patted him, walked into the bedroom and was scolding the wife, he asked her why she was sick, rolling on the bed and could not call for help from the neighbours or the family doctor?

What exactly is deregulation...I have talked to government officials, petroleum marketers, a few 'big boys' in NNPC, and a couple of egg heads. Truth is that they do not know, or better still they know but cannot explain in simple terms what the term means. Strange and unbelievable I hear you say.

All the grammar boils down to an inability of a system to solve a problem because a strong group of persons are benefiting from that problem. It also is an indictment reflective of the faulty planning by those in charge, that's if they plan at all.

Government tells us that they cannot influence the price of the product since deregulation is the in-thing, but in commonsense, no one has been able to tell us how fellow oil-producing nations have successful dealt with their petroleum needs.

In a strange twist, one that is common with us, the CBN governor has said that deregulation will translate to inflation, that it was not advizable. Government told him to 'shut up and face the work we gave you'.

A friend suggested why don't we go to Angola, Venezuela, or Brazil and just steal their blueprint, its working for them, lets just stop this deregulation grammar and deceit of subsidies and duplicate their success, localize it for the collective good of Nigerians, but off course the term 'collective good' is an alien term to us.

It is a sad picture of a society that has lost balance, the ruling class needs to be taught a bitter lesson, they need to be made to bleed, Nigeria's live at less than a dollar a day, while a nation's collective wealth is flaunted by a few oil moguls who donate millions to the 'cancer called corruption'.

No number of essays, commentaries can explain the impact of fuel, cooking oil and diesel to the economy; it's like explaining the impact of constant electricity to national life. These are terms those in power do not seem to grasp; the reasons are way too simple...one they have big power generating plants in their homes and offices. Two, some of them cannot really recall when last they were on a fuel queue.

The NLC died a long time ago courtesy of an Obasanjo inspired poisoning, aided by greed of those put at the helm of its activities.

When last the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia increase fuel price, they have oil in excess, Japan does not have crude, but the authorities have not been rude to its citizenry in the name of deregulation. I sound like a broken record saying that it's unacceptable that we have to suffer for a God-given gift.

19 fuel price increases since 1978, five times it was reduced minimally but hiked backed almost immediately. From N8.45K in 1978 to N65 in 2009 representing an increase of almost 60,000% and the trend has continued.

In 1978 when the first increase was announced, one of the reasons given was that a majority of petroleum users were using it for pleasure, and there was a need to bring discipline into society. Strange thinking, another reason was that N95M was being spent a year for subsidies.

How much are we spending today on subsidies, where is this money coming from, how does this subsidy think work, how can you deregulate when your refineries are not working. I have seen a fuel queue of 108 cars; at least I counted on that occasion.

In 2002 the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency had said that it had affected full deregulation of the downstream sector, so in 2009 what again is being deregulated.

The top echelon of the society cannot explain to Nigerians, exactly, the reason why we cannot buy fuel at an affordable price for three years in a stretch without scarcity. Not every Nigerian is a novice to the political, economic or social implications of oil pricing. However the ordinary Nigerian suffers this failure and complacency of leadership.

Just few years back, we lost a comrade in Maidugiri courtesy protesting a fuel hike. 10 years of democracy, and billions in petrol dollars earned, we cannot build a refinery, we cannot even repair or successful do 100% turn around maintenance of the ones we have.

A population of 150 million and now we are even considering importing from Dakar. Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, presented a request to that effect to Senegal, through a six-member (Senegalese) delegation led by the Ministry of Energy and Biofuels, Mr. Samuel Amete Sarr.

Senegal has a fully operational refinery, whereas Nigeria's four refineries are barely functioning. Nigeria allocates crude oil to Senegal, and hopes to benefit from that country's excess refining capacity.We have bid shame good bye. No fuel, no kerosene, no gas, no water, and no light...just government talk.

Months back, the Yar'adua administration came out with this gas master plan thing but well it's either in the go-slow or it's not even moving at all. I often say that our leaders had long lost feelings, infact they never had such, they are only sensitive to their greed and self.

In the last three weeks, it's been long queues or you 'black market' at a N100 per litre or more, a 25kg gas sells for N3000 and Kerosene, don't even go there.

Deregulation means the price will ultimately fall, in local parlance...'our leaders like to mumu us'. When the broadcast industry deregulated we saw the instant benefits, same applies to telecoms (although we pay some of the highest tariffs in the world) we saw and still seeing the benefits. But once you hear deregulation in the petroleum sector, it's like it stands for disappearance of the commodity and when it reappears its price increases.

Wetin be all this noise about deregulation, governors' support, everyone on top supports, every person under suffers it, in all the noise the product disappear. Transportation increases, food prices sky rocket...a nation that has a disconnect between the ruled and its rulers, like the deaf and dumb boy, his mother, the stranger and his father.