Women in Energy Network, a group of female energy sector professionals have thrown their support behind the ongoing deregulation of market prices which they say will provide consumers with new energy choices including gas for transportation, power generation, and industrial application.
Emerging commercial competitiveness in the market will undoubtedly spur local and international investments in the country’s Decade of Gas programme, boost production of new energy forms, and solidify Nigeria’s position in the global movement towards low-carbon energy, the group said.
According to the female professionals’ network, the overall economic benefits in terms of employment, patronage of local goods and services, and ancillary small and medium scale business opportunities would far outweigh the poorly managed fuel subsidy which has created more damage to the economy and actually caused more suffering to the people.
“A deregulated and liberalized domestic fuel market will no doubt save money for the government, enhance price competition, promote service efficiency, phase out perennial fuel scarcity and expand the capacity of the market to absorb more investments,” it said in a release.
They commended the determination of the new administration of the federal government to activate the relevant sections of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 that relate to market reforms and congratulated President Bola Tinubu on his inauguration following the 2023 general elections.
“We are excited at the enthusiasm of the new president to carry out urgent reforms in the critical sections of the economy. This shows that he is prepared and determined to steer the country into the paths of rapid recovery and accelerated growth.
“However, given the poverty level in the country and the strategic economic role of petrol in energizing homes and small businesses in the country, the polarization of standpoints among stakeholders on the ongoing market reforms is understandable, normal, and expected.
WIEN gives sufficient consideration to the pains and shocks that will inevitably accompany the ongoing reforms in the market, especially with the fuel subsidy removal. We are convinced that the decision to permanently address the subsidy imbroglio is well-intentioned and purposed to cause the much-canvassed reforms in the market.
Therefore, it called on the government to quickly put measures in place to urgently deliver the realizable social and economic dividends of the market reforms to alleviate the impacts on the people.
“It has become urgent at this point for the government to hasten the market transition process and shorten the time for delivery of convincing quick wins to the people.
“Also, the relevant agencies of the state should collaborate with industry stakeholders to fine-tune the emerging regulations in order to weed out all remaining impediments to fair play and best market practices,” WIEN said.
The group further called for support from Nigerians on the efforts by the government to remove subsidies and liberalise fuel supply sources.
“We, therefore, appeal to our Nigerian compatriots to be calm and supportive of the new government as it sorts through strategies to deliver the best economic dividends from the country’s petroleum resources.
“For instance, reapplication of the poorly managed fuel subsidy funds to the creation of enhanced social services, development of facilities and infrastructure, and enhanced electricity supply will yield greater impact in the social economy.
WIEN believes that Nigerians need more opportunities and an ambient business environment than they need subsidies to thrive. This has been demonstrated by the large number of Nigerian youths who have migrated out of the country and succeeded in foreign lands where they are not direct beneficiaries of social security cover, it said.