The word “Scarcity” is an economic problem that negates limited resources, however, it can be created even when its not there. That is exactly what a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives is saying about the current fuel scarcity in Nigeria. Olajide Olatunbosun, a Rep and member of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Oyo, said Nigerians should direct their anger to independent oil marketers for the hardships they are currently going through due to fuel scarcity.
He said the removal of petroleum subsidy in January has held back oil marketers from importing fuel into the country. According to Olatunbosun, who is a member of House Committee on Appropriation, this hardship placed by the “scarcity mentality” was meant to arm-twist the government into agreeing to their terms which may be inimical to the interest of Nigerians.
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While reacting to comments on President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic policy during the weekend in Abuja, Olatunbosun said the implementation of the Single Treasury Account (TSA) was the best to have happened to Nigeria’s economy.
“In January, fuel subsidy was removed but there is a gang up to sabotage this government by some elements. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was to import 50 percent of our fuel consumption while the balance was to be given to independent marketers that have refused to supply the fuel.
“In the past, they were importing it but this stopped suddenly. My understanding is that the stoppage of patronage they were getting from subsidy, which was a monumental fraud was the cause.
“It means they were never in that business because they loved Nigeria and Nigerians in the first place, they were doing it solely for the ill-gotten wealth they get from the undue advantage they get through the subsidy but because there is no more free fund to get from the subsidy, they stopped importing the product.
“Unfortunately, that was not communicated to Nigerians. I think there is a need to go back to the 2012 report of the House probe on the subsidy, those indicted should be prosecuted. That Forex scarcity was responsible for their inability to bring in fuel is a diversionary excuse because fuel importation is prioritized since it affects the economy directly”.
The lawmaker further condemned the unpatriotism of some Nigerians who own foreign domiciliary accounts. He says its running into $20b and that is a major cause of the falling naira and a struggling economy. He also noted that the TSA has nothing to do with the issue of dollar exchange rate, Olatunbosun said he will rather say that it has helped us as a nation than otherwise.
He said when you have an economy being driven by ill-gotten stupendous wealth chasing the dollar, maybe by now we would be talking about N500 to a dollar. He also said that the TSA is one good policy that has happened to Nigerian economy because there have been monumental leakages in all agencies of government, most especially those generating revenue.
According to the rep, Nigerians have about $20b in various domiciliary accounts by individuals and corporate entities. That is over N1 trillion at N300, the size of the nation’s budget, and even if it’s at N200, that is still huge. He also said he has never seen a nation where the citizens have such reserve of foreign currency. He concluded by saying Nigerians do not believe in their own country, and until that trend is reversed, it is going to be same song they would keep singing about the economy of the nation.