Deregulation difficult but necessary – Jonathan
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has explained that his decision to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry was difficult but necessary for the country for the sake of its future.
Speaking to the outgoing Ambassador of Iran to Nigeria, Mr. Hussein Abdullahi, at State House, on Thursday, he said government was focused on the total deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector and not just removal of subsidy.
He commended Abdullahi for the admirable steps taken during his tenure to strengthen relations between Iran and Nigeria, and wished him success in his next post.
Earlier, the Iranian Ambassador had told Jonathan that his country also had to withdraw oil subsidies two years ago, noting that 70 per cent of the savings were devoted to infrastructural development and 30 per cent to the provision of other palliatives.
At another audience, Jonathan stressed the need for African leaders to imbibe democratic tenets in order to enable peaceful transitions.
While hosting the outgoing Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Amidou Diarra, he said, “it is important for African leaders to leave the stage when their time is up, so that we can strengthen democracy, observing that Cote d’Ivoire was making good progress, while the relations between the country and Nigeria were “robust”.
Responding, Mr Diarra thanked President Jonathan and Nigeria for standing by Cote d’Ivoire during the conflict, saying that he enjoyed his three-year tenure in Nigeria.
The President also received a special message from Ethiopian Prime Minister, Mr. Meles Zenawi, on Thursday. The message was delivered by Mr. Wondimu Gezahegn, Minister of State, Ethiopia.