DEREGULATION OF THE OIL SECTOR WILL WORSEN THE ECONOMY
SPN DEMANDS REVERSAL OF THE DEREGULATION OF THE OIL SECTOR, NATIONALISATION OF THE OIL SECTOR UNDER DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF WORKERS AND CONSUMERS
Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) is strongly opposed to the deregulation of the downstream oil sector. The implication of a deregulated oil sector is a deepened private sector control with adverse effects and consequences for the working masses and the poor. Hence, deregulation engenders massive exploitation of the working masses and guarantees more profit for the dominant few. Though, this aspect of deregulation comes with government price regulation through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the prices will now be determined by the market forces of crude oil prices, exchange rates and profit interest of the so-called investors. This development entails that marketers who abandoned importation some years back can resume importation and sell at juicier prevailing market prices.
The Buhari-led government in March 2020 surreptitiously reduced the price of petrol from N145 to N125 in order to gain support for the obviously anti-poor deregulation policy. For the fact that the leopard cannot change its spots, the prices of fuel prices have gone up and currently at N148 per litre when the crude oil prices are still as low as $41 per barrel. In the event that the price of crude oil goes up to $90 per barrel and Naira loses more ground to the dollar, petrol price will most likely be selling for N250 per litre or more and the same for other petroleum products. This will worsen the already high cost of living. It is scandalous that Nigerian being an oil-producing country, the 7th biggest producer as a member of the OPEC, 11th largest proven reserves in the world and the 13th biggest producer in the world is still enmeshed in crises of unaffordable fuel prices and chaos in the distribution of petroleum products.
The problem with the oil sector is the lack of necessary infrastructure, endemic corruption and the dominance of profit over public interest. This is as a result of the failure of capitalism in Nigeria and the implementation of capitalist neo-liberal policies of privatization, liberalization, deregulation etc., in the last three decades which places premium on profit for a privileged few far and above the needs of the vast majority of the working people. This is the reason the four publicly owned refineries are being sabotaged and deliberately made to work abysmally, a conscious action that empowers importers to milk Nigerians as the private sector dominates distribution.
Inevitably, the consolidation of the deregulation of the oil sector by Buhari government will usher in higher prices of petroleum products and this will increase the economic woes of the vast majority in terms of higher cost of transportation, production, services, etc. It is so because the Nigerian economy rest majorly on a backward economy, poor infrastructure, dilapidated refineries and massive looting, abysmal electricity supply etc. Even in the event of Dangote Refineries becoming operational, the prices of petroleum products will remain high because it will sell to make profits while marketers and other private sector players also ensure the continuation of high profit margin.
SPN demands the reversal of the deregulation policies, building of new refineries and repairs of old ones by the government and the nationalization of the entire oil sector under the democratic control and management of workers and consumers as the only way to guarantee affordable petroleum products prices and availability of products. We call on the working class, youth and the poor to join the SPN and build it into a pan Nigeria working peoples’ political party in order to defeat all anti-people bourgeois political parties and ensure the use of human and material resources of Nigeria for the benefit of all.
Abiodun Bamigboye Chinedu Bosah
Acting National Chairperson National Secretary