From Femi Oyelola Kaduna
A lecturer in Department of Economics of Kaduna State University (KASU), Dr. Seth Akutson has said the petroleum sector is the most corrupt sector in the Nigerian economy.
He said the persistent fuel scarcity is nothing but a game plan by some cabals in the sector who have turned fuel scarcity into a political issue.
He stated this at a public lecture organized by History Department of the University in Kaduna yesterday.
According to him, government must holistically fight corruption in the oil sector, improve infrastructural deficit open up supply chain, allow private sector participation and reduced incentive on fuel importation.
The don added that the Federal Government can deregulate the oil sector, but should also employ competent hands to manage the ministry of petroleum.
“But above all, there should be joint action by the masses and collective resolve to change the situation for the better,” he said.
Similarly, Prof. Ibrahim Umar, also of Economic Department said that the economic and social nature of the commodity as instrument of political control and an avenue of making profit made it prone to manipulation.
He said that to end scarcity, government must build more refineries.
Speaking earlier, the Head of Department of History, Dr. Terhemba Wuam, noted that fuel scarcity has been a recurrent feature of Nigerian economic life for decades.
Wuam said that perennially and frequently, Nigerians suffer from the inability to drive into petrol stations and buy fuel for transportation and other energy needs in industries, offices and homes.
He said that the effect of fuel scarcity has without doubt, several retarded economic growth in the country, adding that many hour are lost on unending queues and productivity negatively affected.
He blamed the development on government insistence to control the sector and not allowing purely economic consideration to be the determinant of the prices that the end users ought to pay.
According to him, the solution is simply to deregulate the oil sector and remove all vestige of subsidy so that economic realities would determine the final price.
“This is because, if the market reality is such that the government approved price is no longer sustainable, the government will find itself in a difficult position as is apparent.
“I am not totally against subsidy or government interventions in specific areas because support the subsidization of education and health care; and government should build roads, railways and provides social services.”
Wuam advised the federal government to approach the crises in the oil industry from purely economic realities rather than a social and political perspective.