Based on emerging details, fuel subsidy removal may yet be another ruse that only the common Nigerians will bear the brunt of.
According to a recent statement credited to Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, there is no credible data to ascertain the daily consumption of petrol in Nigeria.
Kyari said this much in an interview with Channels Television on Thursday while noting that the NNPC only has data on the number of trucks that leave depots across the country with petrol.
For a state oil corporation in existence since 1977 (for roughly a 45-year period) to echo the excuse of not having credible data on Nigeria's daily fuel consumption, is appalling.
This, of course, is coming on the heels of a rebirthed resurgence of long queues at filling stations across the country as the price of petrol has skyrocketed.
The sudden change in the price of petrol was triggered by the declaration of President Bola Tinubu that the petrol subsidy regime has ended.
In a related development, a Nigerian knowledge institution and advocate for fiscal transparency, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), has expressed concern over the recent decision by the Federal Government to remove the subsidy of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) without engagement and consultation with stakeholders.
It also hammered on the fact that the amount of fuel supplied and what leaves the depot has remained unknown to Nigerian citizens.
The Lead Director, CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, stated that while the group has long advocated for the removal of PMS subsidy, the abruptness and lack of transparency surrounding the recent announcement raised several critical questions and potential consequences for the citizens of Nigeria.
CSJ while recalling President Bola Tinubu’s inaugural speech on May 29, in which he declared the end of petrol subsidy and the subsequent announcement by Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) of an upward review in the pump price of PMS across the nation with effective from May 31, recognised the need for sustainable economic policies and efforts at addressing issues relating to petrol subsidy.
The centre maintained that the current manner in which the removal of subsidy was carried out raises significant concerns that demand urgent attention.
“Lack of public consultation and agreements that should accompany the reform package, including palliatives for the poor, cutting down the cost of governance, the fate of the public refineries prior to the removal of the subsidy is troubling.
“It is very important that decisions of this magnitude, which directly affect the lives of citizens, are made through inclusive and participatory processes, ensuring that diverse perspectives are taken into account.
“Additionally, the lack of transparency and clarity in the computation of the new fuel prices circulated by NNPCL is disturbing.”
CSJ, therefore, urged the government to provide a comprehensive breakdown of the cost components and the basis for the calculation of the new fuel price.
“Furthermore, the sudden removal of petrol subsidy without a clear plan to mitigate the potential adverse effects on the already burdened citizens will exacerbate their suffering.
With this unfortunate state of affairs, one wonders what it will cost the NNPCL to initiate a research project with the aim of getting a realistic estimate of Nigeria's daily fuel consumption if need be.
What then is the basis for all policy statements and actions on fuel subsidy removal if a state oil corporation is not conversant with daily fuel consumption?
This is akin to selling a commodity without the details of the unit rate.
Again, one dares ask: what is the significance of today's data analytics that helps organisations focus on only information-driven decision-making processes that are free of misleading permutations?
If this trend persists, then the much-trumpeted dividends of fuel subsidy removal are a ruse at best.
Who then is deceiving who?
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