Deputy National Chairman of the Labour Party, Dr Akinlaja has criticized President Umar Yar Adua’s proposed deregulation of the down stream sector of the nation’s petroleum sector.
According to him, “deregulation will only put the future of millions of Nigerians in the hands of a cabal that derive pleasure in importing fuel. This cabal will make life difficult for Nigerians by fixing prices of petroleum products at levels that would be of great benefit to them.”
Akinlaja frowned at government’s continued dependence on importation of fuel, saying that rather than import, government should fix the nation’s refineries and even ensured that the nation becomes an exporter of products.
“It is highly saddening that successive governments have failed to establish more refineries in this country. From 1965 to 1981, the country had four refineries but it is quite unfortunate that no government had deemed it fit to build more refineries while the existing ones are not functioning at optimum level”, he almented.
“The government of former president Olusegun Obasanjo issued licenses to 18 companies in 2002. Up to now we have not turned the sod of a single one out of the 18 companies that got the go ahead to build refineries. There are some cabals in this country that benefit a lot from importation of fuel. This is one area that the Federal Government needs to work on rather than insisting on deregulation”, he observed.
The politician who is also a former deputy president of Nigerian Labour Congress told journalists last week that to find a permanent solution to the problem of fuel scarcity, the nation needed to build more refineries and ensure the existing ones were functional.
According to him, importation of petrol is an embarrassment to the nation; being the sixth largest producer of crude oil in the world. Even countries with marginal oil fields are doing better than Nigeria, he stressed