Hike Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), speaks on latest developments in the polity in this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI. Sagay who is a strong supporter of Buhari said he will be very upset if the government increases the price of petrol again.
Read an excerpt from the interview below: QUESTION: The Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, few days ago said that the corporation can no longer bear the over N120bn monthly subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol.
He also said that may impact on the current price of fuel at N162. Will you be shocked if the price of fuel is increased? ANSWER: I will not be surprised but I will be very upset. I think it is good to be ignorant. Those of us who are ignorant in economics are not seeing it the same the NNPC and the experts are seeing it. Let us try and look at the logic of what they are saying.
When the NNPC are getting almost nothing for oil, if the price crashes to $10 per barrel, then they are ready to dash Nigerians the petrol and were selling it for little or nothing. In other words, out of that their little or nothing, they now have to look for money to make us get petrol.
But now when they are being well-paid for it, when crude oil is now at $60 per barrel, that is when they can afford to subsidise because they are making so much money.
They can take out of that money and make cheap petrol available for the country. But the way economic theory has turned it round that the less NNPC earns in terms of crude oil, the more it should be able to subsidise we, the users to the extent of almost paying nothing for it.
But when it is earning huge sums; when it has the money to actually do the subsidy, then it should also increase the price. It makes no sense. The illogic of it arises from the fact that they say that it is a theoretical thing. We are now earning $60 per barrel. So, if we give away crude oil for refined one, it must be at that rate because that is the rate it is being sold.
If we give it at a lower rate, we are losing money at the international level. I think that is stupid economics. In my view, the more you earn, the lower the price of petrol because you are having more money now from the industry, which can enable you bring the price down for the benefit of the people. The less you earn, the more difficult it should be for you to subsidise. That is when the price should go up. So, for me, the economics is upside down economics.
They will never have a good excuse in my eyes for increasing the price of petrol when they are doing very well in the international market for crude oil. To me, that logic is theoretical economics logic which is totally at variance with the reality of what they are earning and therefore with the interest of the people of this country. So, there is no excuse for increasing the price of petrol and I will be very upset if they do that.