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Ahead of next year’s elections, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi has asserted that the government was behind oil theft in the country.
Obi, who was the guest speaker at the second in the series of Private Sector Economic Forum of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) for presidential candidates, asserted that it was impossible for an ordinary Nigerian to steal oil without the cooperation of government.
‘Payment of oil subsidy as currently practiced in Nigeria is an organised crime. We need an aggressive production of local refining. Make resources available to ensure a private-sector led oil refining,’ the former Anambra State governor advised the Federal Government.
The presidential candidate who made the remarks, while answering questions from panellists at the event, also reacted to a question on the issue of cost of governance. ‘I have allergies to waste,’ he said, alleging that 50 per cent of the claimed subsidy being paid was ‘corruption’.
Speaking on challenges relating to high exchange rate, Obi, who said the problem was due to ‘physical recklessness’, stated that Nigeria needed to move away from being a ‘consumption to production nation’.
Another critical policy he identified to address exchange rate challenges was to stop ‘dollarisation’ of local oil transactions.
He insisted that there was need for an overhaul of the security architecture in the country, proposing multi-level policing from the federal to the community security system.
The LP presidential standard bearer, who stressed that tackling insecurity challenges was significant to economic growth, affirmed that once insecurity was adequately addressed, farmers would be able to go to farms, productions would increase and high rate of inflation would gradually reduce.
When asked how he was going to sustain institutional growth, Obi replied that he would ensure “certainty of policy”, as well as subjecting himself to public scrutiny and accountability.
On borrowing, Obi specified that there was nothing wrong in borrowing, but where the problem lied was when government borrowed to consume, stating that when borrowing is done to invest, the return would be prosperous and impact positively on both micro and macro economies.
He urged Nigerians not to vote him or any other candidate in the coming general elections based on tribe, religion or acclaimed right. Instead, he advised the electorate to vote based on trusted character, accountability and prosperous future for the country.