It is beneficial for the purposes of governance to be proactive and carry the people along especially in areas of critical decisions that will impact negatively on them.
The recent increase in the pump price of PMS and increase in electricity tariff are decisions that were taken without carrying Nigerians along.
This government is almost six years in power, more than enough time to exit the country from being dependent on PMS imports. Six years is enough time to allow the private sector invest in modular refineries at terms that will be beneficial to the investors. No, this government would rather invest in the importation of fuel. The last time, we were told that marketers will be allowed to independently import fuel, only for nnpc to be the sole importer.
The reasons for the present increase in fuel prices were the same the President Jonathan led government advanced several years ago. When President Buhari came up with his change slogan, Nigerians bought into it hoping that things will actually change. Nothing changed.
Just a few days ago, Vice President Osibanjo announced that cars will be converted to enable them drive on gas with the costs borne by the the Federal government. This ought to be on the table long before now and not as a reaction to the present fuel increase. Vice President Osibanjo in a visit to the Niger Delta creeks a few year ago, announced that those engaged in the illegal refining of crude will be assisted by government to develop modular refineries in the region to remove them from their illegal businesses and make them contribute to national development.
That announcement, if developed into a purposive course of action would have created massive development in the Niger Delta and remove the boys from the acts of pipeline vandalism. Government refused to act. The recent announcement by the the minister of finance that fuel that will be produced locally will attract international prices is indicative of the fact that this government do not have the interest of the poor, who constitute over 90% of the population at heart. The Minister must be lectured on what constitute the dynamics of National Interest.
The President Jonathan led government made the mistake in the electricity privatisation of PHCN by replacing a public monopoly with a private monopoly. The latter will never compromise their profit motive for any human consideration. I will suggest therefore that government should do all in its power to dismantle the present private monopoly regime in the power sector. Government should privatise the transformers serving segments of the population. Sell power directly to these small private enterprise who in turn sell to the consumers. These private small enterprises are to ensure they provide adequate poles, lines and prepaid meters to the customers. The consumers can request a non performing service provider to be removed for non performance.
Since these service providers are close to the people, they can monitor and stem energy theft. These service providers having set up their distribution network, are to buy energy directly from generation and distribute at a cost to break even. Government being the provider of gas to the generation outfits, should, in the sake of national interest sell gas to gencos at subsidised rate. Nigerians can grow this economy from the energy sector alone. If a service provider employs five staff to man and attend to few transformers in an area, and this is replicated nation wide, over 5 million jobs would have been created in addition to ensuring adequate power supply.
If youths in the Niger Delta region are engaged in the small several modular refineries, several thousands of jobs would have been created.
It is time the President Buhari led government begin to rejig its energy policy and stop reinventing the present weather-beaten excuses of justifying increases in energy supply. Shalom.
Aledeh News is not liable for opinions expressed in this article, they’re strictly the writer’s