FG’s Policy on Fuel Pump Price is Erroneous, Says Omotola

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The Group Managing Director of CFL Group, Mr. Lai Omotola, yesterday faulted the decision of the federal government that ended subsidy regime on petrol.

 Omotola, also Publisher of Infrawatch Nigeria, equally criticised the judgment of the federal government, which threw open the importation of PMS to the organised private sector and the autonomous market.

 He disapproved the decision in a statement he issued yesterday, pointing out that the decision to remove fuel subsidy should not have been made only two weeks to the first anniversary of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 In a three-page statement he personally signed, Omotola noted that the reason for the increase “has been hinged on scarcity of foreign exchange and as such the solution is for government to throw open the importation of PMS to the organised private sector and the autonomous market.

 “These two entities are tasked with the responsibility of bringing the price of petrol down in 6 months. Where is the address of this so-called autonomous market? Who is the managing director?

 “After much enquiry, I think the autonomous market is not the BDC, but the black market pure and simple. The black market in true sense is an illegal market, an unregulated market and a market controlled by urchins that scout for dollars either to sell or to buy on the street.”

He therefore argued that to think that the petrol scarcity that the federal government and CBN “cannot solve will be solved by the twin effect of OPS and autonomous market is a joke taken too far.

 “It is not possible for organised private sector or any Nigerian entity has the capacity to deploy PMS and later bring the cost of PMS down is 6 months as widely speculated by the minister of state.”

 Like the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the chief executive said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) might end up creating another intervention fund to help the oil and gas sector.

 Consequently, Omotola said the policy “is not well thought out. The thinkers of the federal government got it wrong. The organised private sector is at a prostrate state. Are they the one to bring in products and build refineries?”

 He noted that waiting for this to happen “will only show lack of understanding of the challenges the sector is going through. We find a situation where these marketers are grossly indebted to Bank and the Banks unwilling to fund the oil and gas because of its many troubles.

 “Even the banks are going through the worst era of banking history and therefore are not smiling. The same federal government has removed idle funds in the name of Treasury Single Account (TSA), have set EFCC on their trail resulting to the arrest of four bank chiefs. I doubt if the banks will come to the rescue of federal government on reducing pump price.”