Wale Tinubu, managing director of Oando Plc, says politicians want the subsidy on crude oil products to continue at all cost.
Speaking on Tuesday at the ongoing Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja, Tinubu called for deregulation of the sector adding that the federal government needs to cease subsidy.
According to the Oando boss, $5 billion that could have been used to finance much-needed infrastructure was spent on fuel subsidy in 2018.
According to him, other critical sectors of the economy, like education and health among others, were in need of funding, adding that such amount expended on subsidy should have been directed to other critical sectors or towards infrastructure development.
“The government has chosen to effectively subsidise the price as a social palliative. Not that I support it, but we spent $5 billion last year on subsidy, which was even more than what we spent on education and housing combined.
“At a population growth rate of 3%, the question is what is the best – to invest in infrastructure or consumption? There is a big debate that has to be made around this and as stakeholders, we absolutely need to champion that debate with the federal government,” he said.
“The politicians want this to continue at all cost, but there is long-term damage we are doing to our country and industry.
“We need to ensure that these subsidies are altered and the downstream sector needs to be commercialised, the refineries need to function and the pipelines need to function
“There is no logic in is transporting our products by road which is extremely expensive.”
Tinubu said stakeholders in the petroleum industry should rise up to support the deregulation of the oil and gas sector to engender growth.
Commending the national assembly for passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), he urged the federal government to reconsider its passage.
He also hailed the recent appointment of Mele Kyari as the new group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, describing him as an incredible and astute technocrat.