14 March 2016, Abuja – A former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, has called on the Federal Government to scrap the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.
Okupe, while lamenting the fuel scarcity across the country, said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government was luckier and in a better position to find a lasting solution to the problem because it had removed fuel subsidy without rancour.
In an article posted on his official Facebook page on Sunday, the former presidential spokesperson said the PPPRA should be scrapped because the agency was hindering the “deregulation and liberalisation of the petroleum sector.”
He said, “This government, unlike its predecessor, is luckier because it has removed the controversial fuel subsidy without rancour and upheaval. What it must now do is to take the next bold step and take the deregulation of the downstream oil sector to a logical conclusion. The PPPRA should be scrapped because its continued existence runs contrary to the fundamental principle of deregulation and liberalisation of the energy sector.
“The constant fuel scarcity with its attendant pains and misery is here again. This problem has affected our country for decades now. For most part of the last administration, it was contained to some extent by the government which pandered to the repeated threats and blackmail of the league of importers and the members of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association. The government did this at very great and sometimes unjustifiable costs. The present economic condition, however, precludes the government from delving into such luxury.”
Okupe said countries such as Benin Republic, Mali, Tanzania and Uganda, who are not oil-producing states, did not experience fuel scarcity.
He maintained that the Federal Government must remove all constraints in order to completely liberalise the importation of petroleum products.
He added, “Finally, of great concern to me is the unwritten discriminatory and insensitive policy of petrol stations nationwide not to sell petrol to people in jerrycans. It is the poor and middle class among us who need to fill their small generator with petrol just to get a few hours of sleep after the labour of the day.
“Those of us who are rich need petrol for our cars and diesel for our generators. Travelling by motorcars is equally dangerous because of accidents but we don’t ban the purchase of cars. Rather, we warn road users about the dangers of bad driving and get drivers to comply with driving regulations.”