The much-awaited deregulation of Nigeria’s downstream oil sector will take off as soon as the Federal Government begins implementing the 2012 national budget, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said Monday. The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the corporation, Mr. Austin Oniwon, said: “I think what people should really look out for is that in the 2012 budget proposal submitted by the president, there is no provision for subsidy. And if there is no provision for subsidy, it then becomes illegal for government to pay subsidy and I believe that when the implementation of that budget takes off, deregulation will have effectively begun.”
Oniwon cautioned against panic buying of petrol following the emergence of long queues in filling stations in Abuja and some parts of the country. “You have to help us tell the community that it does not help seeing people queue for fuel at filling stations when there is no scarcity. This would not last more than one week when the reality will dawn on us that there is no scarcity. We have sufficient products and we want to assure Nigerians that we do have sufficiency for their consumption and they wouldn’t go through any pain in this festive period,” he added.