After a heated a deliberations
on the recommendation for the removal of petroleum subsidy, delegates to the National Conference yesterday voted for an end of the subsidy regime effective three years from the day the recommendation is accepted by the federal government.
From the onset on Monday when the debate on the subsidy began, it had been controversial as many delegates, who though acknowledged the imperfection in the subsidy regime and the corruption therein, favoured retention for the sake of the masses against the seemingly majority view that it should be removed.
Delegate after delegates had spoken against the subsidy regime because of the massive abuse it has suffered, a development that did not go down well with the handful of delegates that took a stand in favour of the retention of the policy in spite of the obvious abuse.
However, since only 67 out of the 167 persons that had indicated interest to be speak on the committee’s recommendation had made contribution, the leadership of the conference adjourned the proceeding till yesterday thus giving the handful opportunity to re-strategize and come with a proposal for a phase removal of the subsidy policy.
Chief Mike Ozekhome, Femi Falana, Chief Dan Anyanwu, Charles Edosomwan, Mohammed Kumalia, Wale Osun, Festus Okoye, Prof. Nnenna Oti, Jaye Gaskiya, Ezenwa Nwagwu and 24 others came up with two separate motions for amendment which were later blended into seeking:
“That the Federal Government shall, within a period of three years from the date, build new refineries and repair existing ones to full capacity utilization.
“That upon fulfillment of the preceding conditions, the federal government shall be free to remove existing subsidy from petroleum products.”
This proposal was overwhelmingly adopted to ensure the recommendation for the end to the subsidy regime was retained by only after certain conditions have been met within a three-year period.
However, a subsequent recommendation for the federal government to adopt and upgrade the local technologies used by the locals for their illegal refineries was rejected by the delegates, who had earlier acceded to Prof. Anya O. Anya’s call for the so-called illegal refineries to be adopted and adapted for increased production of petroleum products.
Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, the deputy chairman, had in putting the recommendation to reminded delegates that nations that developed relied more on indigenous technologies to grow than so-called imported technology stressing in the main, “That government should adopt and develop local technology used by the locals for illegal refinery to refine petroleum products,” but the majority objected and the recommendation was rejected.