Is Full Deregulation the Best Option?

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Although the Federal Government has embraced some partial deregulation in the oil industry and power sector, many eminent citizens have called for full deregulation of both sectors in a bid to boost power supply and also ensure a level and more effective playing filed in the oil sector to eliminate the yearly fuel scarcity and untold hardship on Nigerians. From your viewpoint, can full deregulation solve Nigeria’s power and oil industry challenges in 2018?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* Deregulation of the downstream sector has failed Nigerians woefully due to very poor and dishonest policies implementation; hence the stifling or suffocation of the economy and system. Petrol scarcity, food insecurity, high cost of living, NNPC and oil markers in war of words etc all point to the truth that all is not well with our economy and people. Liberalise the oil sector now, control the standard price to avoid arbitrariness and abuses, but ensure regular power supply.

Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* Full deregulation of Nigeria’s power and oil industry cannot solve the numerous problems unless the Electricity Distribution Company Plc and Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission are working effectively. Nigeria oil refineries must be functional. The fuel crisis that Nigeria is experiencing was induced due to speculation of price increase, mismanagement, and lack of effective monitoring by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and the Department of Petroleum Resources. There should be effective monitoring, prompt accountability and transparency, while representatives of the civil society should also show keen interest in working with oil stakeholders and the law enforcement agents to try and monitor oil retail outlets, stock, importation, downstream sector, and ensure that different petroleum stations are selling at the official rate. There should also be more research on transportation, distribution technology, and building of more oil refineries.

Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder, Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

* In fact full deregulation is the best option because those who sabotage our economy are key government officials. If government totally removes its interference in both the oil and power sectors, we shall see great improvement in all sectors as the key players will have the fear of the government and the people. Let us give this a trial for our total benefit.

Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna State

* The issue is that the so-called fuel scarcity is the handiwork of cabals in the oil sector who want to enrich themselves. It is a game planned by marketers to punish Nigerians in determent of their selfish interest. It is a very ugly trend for marketers and has become a yearly ritual for them to hold Nigerians to ransom and it must stop. Government should find a lasting solution to these ugly acts.

Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* Yes, it is.

Mr. Emmanuel Majebi, Legal Practitioner, Lagos State

* The issue of full deregulation vis-a-vis vital economic sectors of Nigeria is one that gets me worked up oftentimes. Now talking about the oil and power sectors, I am seriously hesitant about advocating full deregulation. Reasons are legion. What we endured in Nigeria in December (2017) concerning fuel supply shows that governments through the ages, including this one, have lied to us. Until we get a government that’ll be scrupulously honest with Nigerians, we shouldn’t have full deregulation.

Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, Apo, Abuja

* The power sector is something that needs to be addressed in 2018 from the three tiers of government before talking about infrastructural development. President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) should sell off the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) because the past government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan sold the power sector to never-do-well investors due to his presidential ambition.

Mrs. Ijeoma Nnorom, Lagos State

* Not at all, one may look at the fuel scarcity as being contrived to punish certain faith. It has an opaque system structured in a way that allows only few cabals to feed fat on the misery of millions of Nigerians. Except government finds a way out, neither deregulation of power or oil sector will salvage the situation.

Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna State

* Yes, full deregulation is obviously the very best option now. No, to any half or dishonest measures as oil marketers have perfected criminal prowess for manipulating the oil sector selfishly and sometimes connive with NNPC to stress Nigerians every December. Government and even Labour have failed to check the recurrent excesses for decades. They must please hands off this oil business for good for the private sector to manage as done in other climes.

Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* To me, the question can be answered with another question: whether there cannot be positive change until the power and oil sectors are deregulated? I would not be drawn into expert analysis, but the truth is that the present government does not have any recipe to our mountain of problems. And that is why we continue suffering.

Barrister DYN Maigari, Abuja

* Partial deregulation in the power sector has cost Nigeria far more to maintain than probably when it was fully owned by the government. Since the partial deregulation, the bailout the private companies have received could be well over a trillion naira without the requisite infrastructure of improvement to show for it; costing the Federal government far more than she received when PHCN was broken up and sold. The downstream petroleum sector is failing because the federal government failed to build the promised refineries. All Nigeria has to do now is to fully commercialise the refining sector and allow anyone who can build big or small refineries to do so with great incentives to begin with. Eventually our existing refineries should be sold off to reputable and competent companies to run. If this is done in a few years time Nigeria would meet domestic demand and at the same time sell most of her products in refined form.

Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* Full deregulation of both the power and oil sectors of the economy sounds like a good prospect for Nigeria in 2018, if only the federal government would keep out of the basic activities in the sector and only serve as regulator. This will open the sectors up to all players and make the products’ market competitive and allow consumers have different options to patronise, which will in turn force down the prices of final products just like in the telecoms sector. Government must hands-off the two sectors totally!

Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

THE FEEDBACK

Yes, it is: 5

No, it is not: 4

Others: 3

Radical tip: Sell the refineries!

Total no of respondents: 12

Male: 10

Female: 2

Highest location: Lagos (5)

Next Week: How Can FG Truly Stop Economic Sabotage?

In his New Year address to Nigerians on January 1, President Muhammadu Buhari frowned on the activities of some unscrupulous people who inflicted severe hardship on all citizens by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country. He said the situation was unacceptable and vowed to get to the root of “this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that those behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again.” Given that the issue cuts across several sectors beyond oil, how do you think economic sabotage can be checked in Nigeria?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (January 4 & Monday, January 8) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, January 11