The 2016 fuel crisis in Nigeria has by far been the most devastating. It has increased the cost of living and brought about the end to the fuel subsidy.
Nigeria is known as one of the world`s key oil exporters, exporting oil to the USA, China and Saudi Arabia. Oil exportation accounts for 90% of Nigeria`s export. Therefore, fuel crisis will affect food prices, electricity and transportation. Nigeria should be able to produce about 2.5 million barrels of oil daily; fuel crisis has become an annual event over the years.
Corruption eats deep into the core of this nation and is a significant reason Nigeria suffers this fuel crisis.
Yearly, Nigeria is unable to account for millions meant to improve the oil sector. Between 2007 and 2014 about N11.56 billion has been unaccounted for. This explains why our refineries lay dormant in Kaduna Warri and Port Harcourt. Coupled with this is the current exchange rate which is about N300- $1. For a country importing oil this signifies a reduction on imports.
It is rather unfortunate that even if our four refineries were up and running we would still have to import oil.
Thankfully, the government has plans to refurbish these four refineries. This marks a new beginning and will hopefully put an end to the need for a fuel subsidy. In 2012 the price of fuel rose from N65 – N141 but protests caused the government to implement a subsidy which dropped the price to about N85.
The 2015 presidential elections between the People’s Democratic Party and the All Progressive Congress ushered Nigeria into an era of change as APC won. The Buharia administration has removed the subsidy making the price N145 from N85. In a country where generators are the source of electricity and cars are the main mode of transport it does not look as if any good will come out of this. However, it can be inferred that this is one of the key steps in the change we voted for.
Nigeria suffers the effects of corrupt staff who live of the subsidy funds
Mrs Allison Madueke the former minister for petroleum in Nigeria was recently arrested on charges of money laundering. Her tenure marked one of the most controversial for the Nigerian petroleum sector as many millions went missing.
The removal of subsidy seems like the most effective way to save funds and drive away the fraudulent staff causing the general hardship.
It really does seem like change has come, so we need to brace ourselves for the impact because even in medicine the flushing of a blocked system is neither fun nor exciting.
Never-the-less it is a much needed process that will yield comfort in the end. The refurbishing and erection of new refineries signifies that our imports will reduce and with time the economy will stabilize. We will soon forget the days of living off fuel subsidies.