Monday, 6 July 2015


A cursory survey of media reports on the downstream oil sector suggests that the prevailing popular belief is that a predatory cabal has a vice grip on the business of fuel importation. There is concern, therefore, that this, presumably, vicious class of businessmen would do everything possible to ensure that refineries will never work, and that the subsidy regime would subsist, while fuel supply will continue to be carefully manipulated to regularly induce artificial scarcity so that bountiful profits can be harvested from the attendant pain and economic dislocation deliberately initiated by the oil cabal.
It would probably be more difficult to find a contrary view to the above popular perception, than it is to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. Besides, the widely reported ‘extreme’ annual subsidy values seem to also confirm that these fuel barons make a kill on the back of fellow Nigerians. Furthermore, despite several allegations that marketers collect billions of naira as refund of subsidies on petroleum products, which were never delivered, no convictions have, surprisingly, so far, resulted from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s tenuous efforts.
Nonetheless, it will be useful to examine the process of fuel importation more closely to actually identify the real beneficiaries in this business. Indeed, the major oil marketers, Total, Mobil, Oando, Conoil, NNPC inclusive, and a few others have not been fingered, so far, for collecting subsidy with fake import papers. However, it may be more difficult to vouch for the innocence of the motley subset of hundreds of indigenous independent marketers, as this class also accommodates the ubiquitous briefcase importer, who is clearly, a more footloose buccaneer.

HENRY E. J Williams

Author & Editor

Has laoreet percipitur ad. Vide interesset in mei, no his legimus verterem. Et nostrum imperdiet appellantur usu, mnesarchum referrentur id vim.


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