Nigeria Not Broke —Sanusi

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said yesterday in Abuja that Nigeria as a country is not broke, contrary to views in some quarters.

Sanusi who was represented by Mr Charles Mordi, Director of Research at the CBN, made the statement at the National Roundtable, organised by the Initiatives, a group in the House of Representatives.

The roundtable was entitled: Deregulation in an Emerging Economy. He said that the issue of deregulation had become an integral part of economic reforms globally.

According to him, private refineries cannot operate in the country because they cannot sell at the existing market prices.

The CBN boss stressed that when deregulated, the petroleum sector would become competitive among operators and that wastages would be eliminated.

He said that government would put in place incentives to cushion the effects of the planned deregulation of the oil sector.

Sanusi urged the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before it.

In a remark, Dr Babangida Aliyu, Governor of Niger State, said that there was a need for a total overhaul of the petroleum sector in order to conform with international standards.

He said that a few group of persons continued to benefit from government’s continued spending of huge resources on subsidy on fuel.

“The rationale for deregulation is to ensure removal of government’s overbearing influences in control and management,” he said.

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He argued that deregulation of the petroleum sector, would give government the opportunity to save money that would be channelled into building more infrastructure in the country.

Prof. Ganiyu Garba, a Lecturer in the Department of Economics, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, said that the issue of subsidy “goes beyond the economic analysis to careful societal and leadership consideration”.

According to him, the future of Nigeria as a country depends on production and productivity and not importation.

He cautioned that government must ensure that Nigerians did not experience difficulties associated with the introduction of new policies.

Prof. Adeola Akinikinju, a Lecturer at the University of Ibadan, giving an overview of the roundtable, said that wrong choice of policies had been the bane of infrastructure decay in Nigeria.

Akinikinju said that government should work towards deregulating the petroleum sector as it had done in the communications sector.

He said that appropriate mechanism should be put in place to protect the poor in accessing petroleum products.

Rep. Eseme Eyiboh (PDP-Akwa Ibom), the Dean of the Faculty of Initiatives, said that the House would continue to collaborate with other arms of government on issues of good governance.

“We in the faculty board of the Initiatives reiterate our collective resolve and commitment to good governance in Nigeria,” he said.