By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
An expert in the oil and Gas sector, the Ajia Balogun Olubadan, Oloye Adegboyega Adegoke on Thursday asked the Federal Government to fully deregulate the petroleum sector.
Oloye Adegoke stated this while addressing journalists shortly after he was honoured as the most distinguished personality of the year by the Oyo State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
According to the oil and gas sector expert, the major way of solving problem revolving round petroleum sector is for the Federal government to fully deregulate the sector by removing its hand from regulating the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as Petrol as well as privatize all the refineries that are currently moribund.
“Government should remove its hand completely the way they did with diesel. Currently, you buy diesel to import and you sell at your own price and there is competition. To me federal government is always fleep flopping. So they should remove their hands completely. Full deregulation means if you like, you import from Russia or from Israel, USA or UK.”, he said.
Oloye Adegoke added, “government should remove its hand from the oil industry the way it was done in the telecommunications sector. So, there will be competition similar to what happened in the telecommunications industry. Before these GSM were licenced, NITEL was having a full day. I was begging for a line. Because the entire lines we have in Nigeria was 400,000. Now, we have millions”.
Oloye Adegoke who is the Executive Director Finance and Chief Financial Officer of OES Energy Services stressed that doing this, would create an avenue for competition among the major distributors in the petroleum sector in the country.
The Ajia Balogun Olubadan noted that ” if the sector is fully deregulated and refineries are privatized, the money that is always earnmark for refineries maintenance without producing anything would be diverted into the provision of other infrastructure.
Speaking further, Oloye Adegoke said former President, Umar Musa Yaradua made a mistake by reversing the privatization of refineries done by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, saying, Chief Obasanjo did the right thing at the point of leaving, when he privatized the refineries.
The Ajia Balogun Olubadan emphasized that the reversal of the privatization of the refineries drawned Nigeria back for many years, adding, “Obasanjo did the right thing at the point of leaving, when he was leaving, privatizing the refineries.
“It was a great mistake by Yaradua to reverse that privatization. And that thing drawned us back for some many years. Because, when you privatize, if you look at it in the news, maybe, last week, the federal government has spent billions of naira on refineries this year. Even if it is just on salary and training alone, but, if you privatize, that is saving. Because, it is no longer the federal government that will be paying that salary. It is the private sector that will be paying that salary.”
The Ajia Balogun Olubadan pointed out that “when government uses 10 billion on refineries, that money can be used for another thing. They are paying salary without doing anything. The refineries that never produced for is many years”, adding “technology has gone beyond that level. We need to move on, so the best way is full privatization of the refineries. We need to fully privatize the refineries.
On the Award by Oyo NUJ, Oloye Adegoke said, “I feel good. I have always been part of them. I take is as a catalyst. Something to energise me and to do more. So I have always been part of them. It is good. It makes me feel great and it means they acknowledged and also appreciate what I have been doing. So I feel great”ENDS.