By Joseph BAMIDELE
The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigerian,(MOMAN), the body controlling over 50 percent of Nigeria’s downstream petroleum industry has alleged that the Federal Government lacks the political will-power to remove fuel subsidy in the country.
The body insisted that it is unrealistic for the Government to embark on subsidy removal because it is a process that can not be rushed.
Obafemi Olawore, spokesman of the body said fuel subsidy does exist and all effort should be geared towards removing it adding that government should be ready to bite the bullet.
Olawore who made this know during the Vanguard Conference meeting at Vanguard Media headquarters inLagoswhere he noted that there has not been enough political will to remove the subsidy.
He said “If we continue to say that government is bleeding, the economy is bleeding because we are spending money on subsidy and we are not making effort to block it then there is a problem.”
Explaining the reason for the existence of fuel subsidy in the country, Olawore noted that what is produced in the country is not sufficient for the country that is why “the country has to resort to importation of PMS.”
“Once you buy at the international market, there is going to be a difference of what is produced and what you are told to sell.
“Whether it is right or wrong is not what am after. What I am after is the fact that somebody is buying the product at a particular price and therefore he has to recover his cost, if he does and he recovers fully and you tell him to sell at a lower price then there is gap and that gap is the subsidy.”
He however, suggested that the removal of subsidy should be done in phases.
“If the removal of subsidy in one sweep will be too traumatic for the economy, then government should agree with all the stakeholders to do it in phases.
“We have been talking about this phases for a very long time. Six months may not be ideal, maybe 12 months, 18 months but everybody must be carried along.
“Ghanadid it for a period of 24 months and they did it gradually and we saw what they were using the money for.
“The removal of subsidy is a political thing. If government can continue to be paying subsidy, all well and good. But for me it is not the best because it does not pay anybody if we continue to have subsidy. Government should bite the bullet.
“Am a player in the industry and I believe that it is not the seller that actually gains from it. Because the seller has bought the product at a higher price and is forced to sell at a lower price, having incurred the cost upfront, he is entitlede to reimbursement which is the subsidy. Again whether it is right or wrong is a different matter.”