It is not rocket science to increase fuel prices if everything that has to be done before then are done, until those are done, each fuel price increase will come at a cost.
Occupy Nigeria could be back as early as next month!
Plans are underway to jack up the price of petrol to January 1st numbers. This will be done by the end of August or the beginning of September.
Today, as I write, that is the plan. It could change if Nigerians get to ask the right questions and demand answers. I know for instance that the price of petrol without subsidy should actually be N112 not above N140. I have been involved with the Essence Of Oil project that for the past three months has been working to aggregate all the written materials, videos and sound recordings that have to do with Nigeria`s petroleum challenges. It is a hub of information on oil and Nigeria. It also includes reports and news from January`s OccupyNigeria protests. Everything is at www.integritynigeria.org.
It was at the launch of the project this week I had a meeting with experts from the industry who prefer not to be named. They made me understand that the only reason we are told we can only buy unsubsidized fuel above that price is because the kickbacks and corruption chain is too long. Right from where the ship comes in, at the point the custom officers have to close their eyes and make do with more dollars than their salary worth for every deal, to the ministry of petroleum where if anything was ever done right, we`d today not be talking about stolen trillions in the subsidy regime.
The promises that greeted the January protests remain just that. There were back to back broadcasts by President Jonathan where he said foreign trips will be reduced. He also produced to reduce their salaries by 25 per cent. Despite that not amounting to anything because allowances are the real meat of the matter, salaries are just the leftover, even that has not been done. The promise to pay government workers every 20th day of the month started failing from that very month and it has failed till today. Nigeria still had the highest number of delegates at global conferences including the UN Conference on sustainable development at Rio in Brazil where we traveled with some 116 delegates. There ought to have been savings from selling at N97 from the previous N65. What has been happening to each N32 made off one litre of petrol sold? This is apart from those that were sold at N141 naira before the N97 compromise. They spoke about SURE-P. What has Dr. Christopher Kolade been doing?
Another shock increase is coming a la January, don`t they ever learn?
We grounded the whole nation and lost almost a trillion naira in the process, don’t they ever learn?
We have been through this path before, we have tried to play the people for fools before, we lied we’ld never have an increase until April 2012 and did just two days after, don’t we ever learn?
It is not as much about what the government intends to do as it is about the government lying about numbers and the state of the nation`s finances and never coming out to admit the realities of our nation to us. If we want to remove subsidies, which I think should go, certain things must be done. Until those things are done, we will continue to dance to the same music we all never really want to dance to. What have we learnt as a people all these years even as we continue to run government like the nation`s biggest secret cult?
It is not rocket science to increase fuel prices if everything that has to be done before then are done, until those are done, each fuel price increase will come at a cost. Even when government achieves its aim, do we realise that these victories are at best pyrrhic as they come at much more cost than the victory they bring? How can we sort this fuel price issue once and for all? I have an idea, I hope events will allow me to share next week. Until then, the nation risks another shutdown next month if government goes ahead with its plans to have fuel prices up again without fixing anything off the questions from January.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.