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|Manage Your Oil Wealth Well, Venezuela Urges Nigeria:which Way Nigeria by Nobody: 5:20pm On Dec 16, 2009|
This is the type of information we should worry ourselves with and not the little things of who asked for what assistance or the other. We waste precious time criticizing little things. If you cannot help, keep out of it.
The Minister of Information and Communications, Dora Akunyili, yesterday got more than she bargained for when Enerique Fernando Arrundell, the Venezuelan Ambassador to Nigeria, used the opportunity of his visit to her office to tell Nigerians some hard lessons on how to manage, develop and utilize their God-given natural resources for the benefit and good of all.
The envoy, who was responding to an appeal by Mrs. Akunyili to help woo some of his country’s investors to come in and establish refineries under the federal government’s planned deregulation of the downstream sector of the nation’s petroleum industry, advised Nigeria to rather look inwards and to take full control of the industry.
Though, he acknowledged Venezuela as a prominent member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) like Nigeria, he said his country will be willing to collaborate with the federal government to develop the industry.
The hard truth
Mr. Arrundell said, “In Venezuela, since 1999, we’ve never had a raise in fuel price. We only pay $1.02 to fill the tank. What I pay for with N12,000 here (Nigeria), in Venezuela I’ll pay N400. What is happening is simple. Our President (Hugo Chavez) decided one day to control the industry, because it belongs to the Venezuelans. If you don’t control the industry, your development will be in the hands of the foreigners.
You have to have your own country. The oil is your country’s. Sorry I am telling you this. I am giving you the experience of Venezuela. We have 12 refineries in the United States, 18,000 gas stations in the West Coast. All we are doing is in the hands of the Venezuelans.”
The envoy said, “Before 1999, we had three or four foreign companies working with us. That time they were taking 80 per cent, and giving us 20. Now, we have 90 per cent, and giving them 10. But now, we have 22 countries working with us in that condition.
It is the Venezuelan condition. You know why? It is because 60 per cent of the income goes to social programmes. That’s why we have 22,000 medical doctors assisting the people in the community. The people don’t go to the hospital; doctors go to their houses. This is because the money is handled by the Venezuelans. How come Nigeria that has more technical manpower than Venezuela, with 150 million people, and very intellectual people all around, not been able to get it right? The question is: If you are not handling your resources, how are you going to handle the country?
“So, it is important that Nigeria takes control of her resources. We have no illiterate people. We have over 17 new universities totally free. I graduated from the university without paying one cent, and take three meals every day, because we have the resources. We want the resources of the Nigerian people for the Nigerians. It is enough! It is enough, Minister!”
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