How long will this hemorrhage continue?

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Regrettable as the pains suffered by Nigerians more than one week now due to the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol, one clear fact that has emerged is that until the massive importation of the product is eliminated and the nation’s refining capacity enhanced through revamping existing refineries and building of new ones, the bleeding of the economy via fuel subsidy payment will continue.
Last Thursday, the Federal Government paid N156 billion to oil marketers being part of the amount owed them for products imported into the country. With this, the total amount paid the oil marketers as fuel subsidy in the last five months comes up to N500 billion.
Again, on Tuesday, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, disclosed that about N145.2 billion had been provided for subsidy payments on petroleum products in the 2015 budget. According to her, N100 billion was provided for subsidy payments on petrol while N45.2 billion would cover subsidy on kerosene during the fiscal year.
All these payments are clearly bleeding the nation’s economy to death. And this is unfortunate. Like a vicious cycle, there appears to be nothing to show that Nigeria will get out of this quagmire any time soon. This is so because some powerful forces benefiting from the subsidy on fuel including those in the labour unions and civil society groups who always drag Nigerians to the streets in support of retention of the policy are determined to ensure that the bleeding of the economy.
But this hemorrhage cannot continue indefinitely. Fact is that the amount Nigeria pays as fuel subsidy is humongous and unsustainable in the long run. It has the capacity to grind the economy to a halt one day. So, something urgent must be done to squarely deal with the issue once and for all, including total removal of subsidy on petrol.

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