By Sunday Oguntuyi Osogbo
The Chairman of Skymark Energy and Power Ltd, Alhaji Muhammad Saleh Hassan, has berated comments by former Emir of Kano and Central Bank Governor, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II, and Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on the oil and gas sector which emphasised removal of fuel subsidy.
Hassan pointed out that removal of subsidy would trigger more economic hardship for the common man. He recalled that since the subsidy on gas (diesel) was withdrawn, increased in prices of all commodities and inflation had been the order of the day because a litre of diesel is now being sold at N850.
Hassan’s reaction in a statement released to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, was against the backdrop of the duo’s comments at the 7th edition of the Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit on Tuesday where Sanusi had raised the alarm that more traumatizing economic challenges awaited the incoming president in 2023, especially the nagging issue of petroleum subsidy and debt servicing.
He allayed fears that with the giant strides being taken by the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Ltd (NNPCL), Malam Mele Kyari, in reforming the oil sector as well as the passing of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by President Muhammadu Buhari and its consistent implementation in actualizing the reformation, there was no cause for such an alarm.
“Kyari’s is a go-getter any day. His poise to unravel oil theft in Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta, which is already yielding positive result, as well as other transformative measures he has embarked upon, is highly commendable.
“He has also propelled Nigeria to a hub of refined petroleum products in Africa.
”The reformation would surely guarantee a staggering growth as well as economic prosperity for not only the oil sector but also the common man. This is the vision that Mele Kyari is striving to achieve,” Hassan said.
He added: “Instead of making dispiriting comments as if the efforts being made to bring success to us all are not relevant, whereas they are very crucial and important, it is high time we started appreciating Kyari’s foresight, selfless patriotism and commitment in ensuring stability of the nation’s oil industry and the economic prosperity, growth and development being earnestly yearned for.”
“Removal of oil subsidy is a critical issue. There is need to weigh it well and ensure a balance before taking a decision on it. The pros and cons need to be looked at critically before a decision has to be made. It is not something to rush. It should be gradual to make it result-oriented for the growth and economic development that we all desire and deserve,” Hassan stressed.
“This is not the time economic experts, especially the class of Sanusi and El-Rufai, should to be talking about subsidy removal because of the rising inflation and hardship. They should put its effects on the common man in consideration. It is a time to think of how the common man is surviving amid the hardship. This is exactly what Mele Kyari is working towards. Through his consistent efforts, NNPC has completed its transition and transformed as a complete limited liability company with impressive shares at the Dangote Refinery, the largest refining in the world which is nearing completion.
“Apparently, Nigeria will soon exit fuel subsidy also because NNPCL’s proactive measures in investing in local refining to boost domestic consumption will end importation, stabilise forex and strengthen our naira. It would also boost our GDP and provide employment opportunities,” Hassan said.