May 17, 2016 - 9:10 PM EDT
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Petrol Subsidy Not the Only Assistance Govt Renders Citizens - Umar

Chairman of Movement for Unity and Progress, MUP, Abubakar Umar, has commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government for its decision to liberalise the price of petrol.

Umar in a statement said the deregulation of the down stream oil and gas sector was inevitable.

He advised the current administration to provide palliatives that would not allow new price regime create hardship for the people that it is supposed to protect.

"The long awaited decision of the federal government to deregulate the downstream oil sector and allow all interested independent marketers to import and sell petroleum products has been taken. Although we believe total deregulation, meaning without any fixing, may well be inevitable, we fully support this needful policy," the statement read.

"In doing so, we take cognizance of the fact that the NNPC suffers from an abject lack of capacity to meet the astronomical rise in demand for fuel products occasioned by the following serial failure of past administrations to expand and maintain the decaying downstream oil infrastructure.

"The remarkable tendency of Nigerian public officials to mismanage public enterprises which creates all sorts of system malfunctions and failures. These could be seen in the dismal failure to maintain the refineries, oil pipelines, storage facilities, distribution system and subsidy regimes.

"As a result, humongous amount of public funds has been deployed in the sustenance of this wasteful system with dubious benefits to the general public. This leaves government with no alternative than to direct its meager resources in the provision of other more beneficial and essential social services like education and health. Obviously, offering subsidy on petrol cannot be the only assistance government can render citizens.

"Our stand does not in any way seek to deny the right of others to disagree. We actually understand and respect the rights of those equally well meaning Nigerians who have already made public their dissension. We however expect them to justify their disagreement by providing better options supported by facts and figures, failing which we remain resolute in supporting governments' decision. We also have a duty to appeal to them not to derail a beneficial and well intentioned policy out of a desire to work cheap popularity, while creating more economic hardship for the very people they need to protect."

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Source: News (May 17, 2016 - 9:10 PM EDT)

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