Working on BudgIT, I decided to do an infographic on Nigeria Oil Subsidy. It is glaring that Nigerian current installed capacity is enough to meet our daily demand. But what would you expect from refineries built in 1980s and running under an inefficient state agency. The refineries work at most 20% level of efficiency . We have to import fuel with billions of capital flight with over 1.2trn as fuel subsidy being the current subsidy. 1.2trn is not as as you think, it can build a 600,000b/d refinery which is more than enough for our daily consumption. 1.2 trn can build a 15000MW station and that solve all our power problems (See Infographic). 1.2 trn Naira is the cost of an inefficient government that feeds the cabal till its fill and scatters the crumble among the masses.
It seems we benefit from the oil subsidy but when one understands the corruption in the oil sector, you will sink into deeper thinking on why we have opened gates of untold wealth to a selected few. We all know how subsidy removal petrol price will raise market prices and put untold suffering on people. But should we keep the subsidy and continue helping the cabal to game the system? To tell government to stop the rot in the system is to ask too much. Jonathan cannot break those that held the ladder he climbed to eminence. What we are faced is a situation the masses should pay for the incompetence on government. For not being able to fix refineries, build new ones, get NNPC to have a transparent structure and infrastructure to wholly import fuel. It’s a sad tale of how low we have sunk.
Let’s see how the debate continues but either way the oil sheikhs will be happy. If we keep subsidy the status quo remains and the corrupt ones keep having the big chunk. If we deregulate they all import and form a cartel like the cement industry, create a shadow price band and sell to the Nigerian public. They will promise refineries but will that ever come? Are they not the same ones who took licenses in 2002 and refused to build? Are we among the “1%” that can afford new rounds of oil blocs for refining or licenses for refineries? The perfect market they are waiting for to make the industry efficient is already skewed towards them.
Will we ever get leadership to tackle the cabal, make the system transparent and get courage to build refineries? Will we ever get the will to punish corruption and make the public fund an object of extreme trust to carefully spent for communal benefit? Questions I pondered about in early 2011 when we had chances to rewrite the rules. They came with Transformation telling me I should vote for Goodluck not PDP. I respect that populism, it simply tells me how far we can take this country. Until we identify our common enemy and take them out in a Tarhir Square moment, we will keep whining as our noses rule us.