The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) says the Federal government must commence domestic production and refining of petroleum products before it can think of deregulating the sector.
NUPENG’s General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi said “the Federal Government cannot base our deregulation on the importation of products”.
Speaking on the advice by the Presidential Economic Advisory Committee (PEAC) for President Muhammadu Buhari to remove subsidy on petrol and adopt a pricing regime that reflects cost of the commodity, NUPENG said it is wrong and that it would be highly suicidal to remove petrol subsidy now.
Afolabi said implementing the advice would spell doom for the poor masses considering the precarious economic situation of Nigeria at present.
He said NUPENG had repeatedly told the government that the full deregulation of the downstream oil industry was the way to go, but this must not be based on petroleum product imports.
According to him, “deregulation is desirable in the downstream sector but we cannot deregulate within the context of importation. We have always been saying that domestic production is the way to go.
“You cannot base our deregulation on the importation of products, thus we have been telling government for years now to make sure that domestic production and refining of the product is on, before they can deregulate”.
Speaking on the benefits of deregulation to the Nigerian economy, Mr Afolabi noted that it would engender increased business activities in the downstream sector but it should not be based on importation of products rather government should deregulate within the context of local refining.