In an interview published earlier this week, this is what Seplat CEO Austin Avuru, had to say about the payment of subsidies in Nigeria, and the NNPC:
Q: About four weeks ago, you said that fuel queues will return and it happened now that refineries are starting to work what do you think that portends for subsidy and fuel queues?
- My view about subsidy is that it is unfair on this economy. It does not matter who is the president. It is unfair on every citizen of Nigeria to keep subsidy.
- It is unfair to spend $5billion a year on subsidy when you are spending less than $1billion on capital expenditure. It doesn’t matter the sentimental argument by either the unions or anyone.
- The National Bureau of Statistics published a statistic that the average price Nigerians buy fuel for is N113 per litre and you still want to spend $5billion, to subsidise fuel in two cities, Lagos and Abuja, and you can’t tar roads?
- My view is it’s not about whether it is right or wrong. It is unfair on this economy, it is unfair on the average Nigerian to not have N1 billion to tar roads and you are paying some people $5billion a year and you call it subsidy. It’s unfair. It is as simple as that and they can keep it if they want to.
On Splitting Up The NNPC…
Q: They say they’ll spilt NNPC, they haven’t given us the details but in case it happens, how do you think that’s going to work, what are your thoughts about the workability and then in what manner too?
- We cannot pre-empt what they will do. All I can say is, some of us have argued that the less of NNPC footprint we have in the business, the better for this economy; that’s what we have always said and we’ve been consistent on that.
- We’ve seen in it LNG. People who know the history of the LNG will know that the day Bonny LNG took off was the day Etiebet as minister, gave up 2 percent out of NNPC’s 51 percent to IFC and reduced NNPC’s interest to 49 percent. That’s the day the Bonny LNG took off and till today they’ve not missed a cargo in 16 years.
- After that there was a minister, and the minister dissolved the board of LNG. The board wrote back to the minister and said: “you don’t have the power. You can withdraw your members, but you can’t dissolve the board”.
- It’s been shown. If the footprint is not large enough to cause the instability we are seeing in the industry, the economy will be better. That’s what we know, we have always said that…
- The footprint is too ominous for our industry, so whatever we do, whether by splitting it, whether it’s by making them non-operators, whether it’s by making them just investors, the foot prints today of NNPC in the industry is a hindrance.
Full interview: http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/avuru-reserve-addition-is-critical-to-our-business/217149/