Andrew Nwobodo (PRO Customs, FOU)
Deregulation is something that has been tried out before in this country and it has failed because the price of the petrol keeps soaring. I do not agree with deregulating the petroleum sector because the ones that have been tried over time are not working. The capitalists are just interested in maximizing profit while the masses wallow in poverty.
If the deregulation exercise is carried out, I do not see any light at the end of the tunnel for the country. However, the only suggestion that I will give to the government is that it should take the non- functioning refineries as a major priority. Full attention should eb given to repairing them.
Alhaji Ayo Fabode (Petrol station manager)
The deregulation has been tried before during the Obasanjo regime. But if we look at it very well, it has failed even though we did not experience this kind of scarcity situations then. Instead of talking about deregulation why can’t the government face the refineries and make sure that they are functioning well to produce enough for the consumers? It is just a pity that those at the top, I mean those at the helm of affairs love scarcity and all this kind of situation because that is where they get their gains.
My own final submission is that government should just leave the petrol to stabilize the way it is.
Okpithe S.E (Tank farm manager)
If the petroleum is deregulated, it will make the price to go higher but in doing so it will make the product available for consumption, I honestly think it is okay because it is then that importers will be free to import and sell at their price, but what we have seen the government trying to do now is removing the subsidy and still controlling the pricing process and this has been our problem in Nigeria. You can not expect the importers to import a product at N70 or whatever the price is and you expect them to sell at the same price, how do you expect them to recover their money.
But in any case, I think it is the government’s decision and whatever compromise they are able to reach with the labour leaders is what they think is best.
Ebele Odiaka (Stakeholders)
Whatever the government will do to suit the country, they should please do it because the punishment is just too much, we are not even sure if the deregulation they are calling for is going to work, because nothing works in Nigeria, but on the long run if it works, fine. However, concerning the pricing, I believe those who will survive will survive and those who will die, will die.
Tunde Salami (Teacher)
Personally, I don’t think deregulation is the answer, instead the government should repair the refineries, we have this crude oil in Nigeria and it will be better if they are refined here. But our government is not ready to commit such monies into our refineries, they believe in embezzling money, taking the product to their personal refineries out there for personal gains. That has been our problem.
Deregulating the oil sector now will make the product available but the masses will be made to suffer because the importers will want to make 100 percent gain. Meanwhile, while it is being regulated, government makes profit from it too, but if it is deregulated, the marketers will make maximum gains.
Frank Kokori (NUPENG ex- Sec. Gen.)
They said investors will not come in until you deregulate, that is too simplistic and pedestrian, in other words you are not un government and you are not a leader because if you are a leader you cannot say that the oil industry will fall into the hands of some cabal, the solution is that government must always be there especially as Nigeria is a mono-product economy, to put checks and balances in every sphere of the economy. Nigeria is not yet ripe for an uncontrolled free market economy.
The lives of companies, societies and individual are being controlled by the government. The moment the government is not performing in its duties, then we will continue to suffer. But if the government is performing fine, of course no body will be in support of this for the simple fact that when the oil sector is deregulated, people will capitalize on this and cheat others, which is going to affect the poor masses.
The only thing here is that government should try and improve the refineries so that there can be adequate petroleum products. Again the NNPC should continue and be more up-to-date in production and not just depend on the importation. I enjoin the government of Yar ‘Adua to improve the country’s refineries so that we can benefit from them.