Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jonathan Insists On Subsidy Removal

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President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria on Thursday insisted that full deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector is the solution to incessant fuel scarcity in the country.

He said that to attract investors to build refineries in the country and thereby ending importation of petroleum products into the country, subsidy must go.

Speaking when he received the report of the graduating participants of the Senior Executive Course 34, 2012 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the President noted that only if people could bear the pain, total removal of fuel subsidy would make Nigerians happier.

He likened the process of transforming a nation to surgery which could be painful but would make the patient healthier at the end.

“Why is it that people are not building refineries in Nigeria despite that it is a big business? It is because of the policy of subsidy, and that is why we want to get out of it.

“To change a nation is like surgery. If you have a young daughter of five years who has a boil at a very strategic part of the face, you either as a parent leave that boil because the young girl will cry or you take the girl to the surgeon.

“So you have the option of just robbing mentholatum on the face until the boil will bust and disfigure her face or you take that child to the surgeon. On the sighting of a scalpel of the surgeon alone, the child will start crying. But if she bears the pains and do the incision and treat it, after some days or week, the child will grow up to be a beautiful lady.

“There are certain decisions that government must take that may be painful at the beginning and people must be properly informed so that they will be ready to bear the pains."

The President was also optimistic about the possibility of the country achieving a turnaround in fortune within 10 years with the right policy in place.

He said, “I believe that you do not need a lifetime to change a nation. Under 10 years, Nigeria can change and people will not even believe that this is Nigeria again. Immediately you come up with strong policies in key sectors of the economy and keep it for 10 years, the change will be astronomical."

Reacting to the comparison made between Canada and Nigeria on the issue of refineries by the grandaunts, the President said, Canada has 16 functional refineries and Nigeria has four that are struggling to refine at 30 per cent capacity of installed capacity while all the refineries in Canada are privately-owned.

"Immediately you made that statement, I sent a note to my chief Economic Adviser to tell me the ownership structure of the refineries in Canada. He replied that all the refineries in Canada are private sector owned with strong public sector regulatory regime and this is the key thing," he said.
Source: Nairaland

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