BY ABAH ADAH, Abuja
An energy expert, Prince Mustapha Audu, has accused the federal government of mishandling the issue of subsidy on petrol instead of solving the problem.
In a telephone interview with LEADERSHIP on Thursday, Audu described a situation where Nigeria, a major oil producing nation in the world, still spending its oil earnings on fuel subsidy, as an ugly development. He added that it is even worse that the fuel subsidy is being enjoyed by only a few people.
He said, ‘‘It seems that the country is now facing the highest level of subsidy payment whereas the government had earlier claimed it would no longer pay fuel subsidy. Queues are returning to the filling stations simply because petrol marketers are given instructions to hoard the products.
‘‘Even when the petroleum products are released, they tell marketers not to distribute them until they will be told, when and at how much it should be sold.’’
Audu, also a politician, who was an aspirant in the last gubernatorial election in Kogi State, said the nation’s economy is in bad shape as almost every single sector is either on strike or holding the country to ransom one way or the other.
He said, ‘‘Everything in the country is practically upside-down. Unfortunately, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), my party, does not wants to hear the truth. Anybody who says the truth is seen as an opposition. The Finance Minister, Zainab Ahemed, recently said the government cannot continue paying states that are not generating their own revenue. Also, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the states would need to start repaying bailout funds given to them some time ago. So, with all these problems, the funds that are being generated by the government are not used for development. The funds are used for two things-recurrent expenditure and two, unfortunately, looting. Our system if we are being honest to ourselves has not really improved.
‘‘The corruption we have been fighting since we came into power seems to have gotten worse by all indices. Before, we said corruption was rampant; now it is limited to a few. I must say the truth even though we don’t want to accept the truth. Most of the people holding the highest positions in the country are stack illiterate. People with no exposure, people with no interest of the country, and immediately they get the position, their sole aim is use that position to rise to the next position.’’