The Movement For Unity And Progress (MUP) has expressed support for the federal government’s decision to deregulate the downstream oil sector and allow all interested independent marketers to import and sell petroleum products.
The position of the group was made public today in a statement signed by its Chairman, Abubakar Dangiwa Umar. It underlined that the MUP believes that total deregulation may be inevitable.
“Our stance does not in any way seek to deny the right of others to disagree,” he declared, adding that his group understands and respects the rights of those equally well-meaning Nigerians who have already made public their dissension.
The MUP called on such dissenters to justify their disagreement by providing better options, supported by facts and figures, saying that in the absence of such viable options, the group remains resolute in supporting the policy decision of the government.
“We also have a duty to appeal to them not to derail a beneficial and well-intentioned policy out of a desire to work cheap popularity while creating more economic hardship for the very people they need to protect,” the statement said.
In justifying its own position, the MUP drew attention to the fact that the NNPC suffers from an abject lack of capacity to meet the astronomical rise in demand for fuel products.
The group attributed this lack of capacity to three factors, including the failure of past administrations to expand and maintain the decaying downstream oil infrastructure, the tendency of Nigerian public officials to mismanage public enterprises, and the resulting exorbitant amount of public funds that have been used to sustain rather than improve the wasteful system.
“This leaves the government with no alternative than to direct its meager resources in the provision of other more beneficial and essential social services like education and health,” the statement said, stressing that offering subsidies on petrol cannot be the only form of assistance the government can provide to its citizens.