Those who have been following the argument for and against the deregulation of t...
Those who have been following the argument for and against the deregulation of the oil industry in Nigeria may have got the impression that deregulation connotes lack of control or indifference on the part of the government. But there is nothing so far from official quarters to suggest that deregulation will cause the government to relinquish its control of the oil industry because the absence of direct control does not mean that it will surrender all its rights to the entrepreneurs who may want to participate in the industry. Yet the opposition expressed so far against stems from the fear that the government would leave Nigerians at the mercy of a heartless cartel who would command the heights of the oil industry and cause pump price of fuel to rise above the means of most Nigerians.
`As a result of such fears, many Nigerians have become resentful of deregulation and in fact the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to ‘deregulate’ the government if it should go ahead with the deregulation plan. But Nigerians have not fared any better with the economy totally in government control. Until recently, the most important sectors of the economy were in the hands of the government. Today, the deregulation of some of these sectors has broken its monopoly and introduced healthy competition to make a little easier for Nigerians. A good example is the breaking of the stifling monopoly of Nigeria Airways. Today, the traveller is king at the domestic airports as opposed to the struggle that air travels used to be under Nigeria Airways monopoly. Before, it was almost easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for travellers to board a plane.
Following from this, the apostles of deregulation rightly heap all the blame for the problems associated with petroleum products distribution in this country squarely on the government, which owns all the refineries and which sells fuel to local consumers through its agency, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). In the same way, the government argues that if the current NNPC monopoly were broken with the introduction of entrepreneurs to the refining and sale of petroleum products in the country, the Nigerian people would be all the better for it. It stands to reason that once the government continues to fix maximum prices would be all the better for it. It stands to reason that once the government continues to fix maximum prices for petroleum products in this country, the deregulation of the oil sector should bring some relief to the people by ensuring that wastage, corruption and inefficiency are reduced to the minimum. Consumers will also have the last laugh because competition will result in the availability of the products at reasonable prices. This appears to be the sense in deregulation.
A) nigerians do not understand the sense in deregulation
B) the anxiety caused by the deregulation queation is groundless
C) a deregulation economy will cause the government to be indifferent to the plight of ordinary nigerians
D) only a heartless cartel will benefit bt the deregulation of the oil industry
The correct answer is B.
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