The focus on Oil and Gas reserves have shifted back to Africa, world mother of all wealth and less on Russia. When it comes to addiction to cheap petroleum prices at gas pumps, Africans and the rest of the world have that in common. Americans have dethroned and elected leaders based on promises of cheaper petroleum prices. Everyone agrees that people living in oil producing countries must benefit from their resources. But most Africans don’t drive two or more cars and luxurious imports. So who benefits from the billions of dollars paid to contractors as subsidies?
Regardless, in Africa, transporters just increase their fare. The working class and the rich pay the same price at the pump just as food in the market. When governments are called upon to reduce or remove petrol taxes, it is the working class and the poor that lose since the taxes support them in most Western countries. Oil prices almost caused a constitutional crisis in Canada. It came to a point when Premier Lougheed of Alberta was willing to sell oil to Canadians at the same international price sold to Americans.
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau insisted on reduced local oil prices for all Canadians. On the other hand, petroleum price tax that is used to help the poor in the Western countries, is used as subsidies for the rich in African oil producing countries. Instead of buying locally produced crude oil for local refineries, they subsidize cronies to buy at the international market and sell at local reduced prices. Of course, this encouraged sabotaging their local refineries.
Buhari asked Obasanjo where is the power he had spent billions on? Under the same Buhari as leader, the contractors have sabotaged local refineries so that they can keep on getting subsidies to import refined petroleum products. Actually, a couple of them and the Government built refineries outside the country for importation. Nobody knows the loopholes of Africa’s petroleum industry better than Buhari.
The present leader of Nigeria, Buhari was a Petroleum Minister. Abacha the Military leader had put him in charge of the Petroleum Fund to manage the windfall from the increase of local price before Buhari became the Head of State for the second time. He understood the sabotage and strain on the economy from the cost of imported refined gas price. So he promised to stop importing refined petroleum products and maximize the production in local refineries.
Buhari Government has spent 12 Trillion on refineries in 7 years for contractors fuel subsidy, maintenance and rehabilitation of refineries. Yet, the Buhari Government has little to show. It is enough to build more than a brand new refinery as Dangote. He continued to enrich the same cronies he campaigned against. https://dailytrust.com/investigation-n12trn-spent-on-subsidy-refineries-in-7-years-enough-for-new-plant
Ghana and other African oil producing countries, must learn from the self-inflicted wounds. Can Dangote Refinery bleed like those of Government refineries? Nigeria Government’s excuse is; we produced 20 per cent less crude oil than capacity due to oil bunkering and other criminal activities. As if, full production of crude oil could be used to import refined petroleum products. Expecting raw materials to buy imported refined goods! Haba, mirror for gold. Government business is nobody’s business.
Who loves Nigeria? We are talking about a deranged accumulation mentality that has gone haywire. If Nigerian leaders can borrow money using their citizens’ children and grandchildren as collateral to pay outrageous salaries, the highest in the world, anything could happen. They launder the oil income back, outside Africa on vanities with high luxury foreign tax. They hoard food stuff for campaigns while prices soar beyond the reach of the poor.
We cannot input blame on others for our own criminal activities. African leaders, Pastors and Imams would use God, Jerusalem and Mecca visits as testimony of sanctity as if their avarice is blessed and holy. It is no longer if their gullible followers believe them but nursing the hope of emulating their footsteps. If we put the fox in charge of the hen house, no matter what they promised during elections, they will satisfy their selfish ends.
Look behind the stereotypes that Blacks cannot rule themselves, you will discover the big boys throwing monkey wrench. When big privileged criminals, looters and oil subsidies launderers get away in Africa but are caught and punished outside, they blame Africans. This has created poverty, divisions, unrest and civil wars in African countries.
The leaders spend hard earned African income to buy weapons from foreign manufacturers to quell unrest. The manufacturers of weapons and drugs are the biggest suppliers of guns and drugs in any African communities. The most famous AK-47, opium and cocaine are distributed and used by countries outside Africa. But only the small retail distributors get maximum punishment in the Black communities.
Either way, African countries lose vital resources needed to prevent crimes and develop their own countries. Indeed, World powers are invited to send Armies to take sides in order to quell internal conflicts. What is obvious here is a vicious circle where cause and blame become muddled.
The irony of their projection on Africa and Blacks is that the toughest laws and correctional facilities are reserved mostly for Blacks while they get away with murders in the Court of Law. It has become an empirical fact Africans have known all through history. If anything, Africans are tougher on crimes, when overwhelmed in their communities.
Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of the initial cause in order to put out the fire. Until the gas is turned off, all efforts to fight the flame are temporary. While gun violence, drugs and crimes in the pursuit of turfs and money empower some members of the community, they devastate the majority of the people, they destroy our environment at home and in Diaspora.
Farouk Martins Aresa @oomoaeesa