By Obas Esiedesa
The benefits from the huge amount spent in subsidizing the price of premium motor spirit (petrol) is far less than its cost to the economy, the Nigerian Association for Energy Economists (NAEE) has stated.
The group held that the bulk of petrol subsidy paid by the Federal Government is not based on consumption level in the country but on the quantity imported from abroad.
NAEE noted that with a porous border and petrol selling at higher prices in neigbouring countries, Nigeria was wasting huge resources in subsidizing consumption in other countries.
The President of NAEE, Professor Wumi Iledare told journalists at the weekend ahead of today’s opening of its 12th conference with the theme ‘Energy access and efficiency imperatives for sustainable development in emerging economies’, that should rethink the policy.
Illedare said: “I believe that the benefit of petroleum subsidy is far less than the cost of petroleum subsidy. Anytime a government has a policy, there is need for it to be reviewed to see whether that benefit that comes from the policy is more than the cost or they about equivalent.
“All you need to do is look around. The roads are bad, the schools are bad, the hospitals are bad, the infrastructure are not even there, and if look at the budgets for health, education, defence and will find that cumulatively they are not up to the amount spent on subsidy in 2018.
“So it is time for government to take a look at it. Yes, I understand the social unrest is scary but it is just going to be for a while. If there is enough education to let the people see what the benefits will be, the people will accept.
“We are giving the capacity that we have to the elite who have the capacity of paying for their petrol to drive their cars at a giveaway price.
He noted that Nigeria do not subsidy the petrol consumed in the country, but subsidizing what is imported into the country”, he added.
He said the three-day conference will have Dr. Maikanti Baru, Group Managing Director of NNPC as Guest of Honour and Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau, PTDF ES is the Chief Host of the Conference. The conference will be chaired by Professor James Momoh, Chairman, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).