President Goodluck Jonathan says the decision to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, which led to the hike in the cost of petrol, is a difficult decision he had to take but which is necessary for the good of the country.
The president made the statement when he received in audience the outgoing ambassador of Iran to Nigeria, Hussein Abdullahi, at the State House on Thursday.
A press release signed by Musa Aduwak for Reuben Abati, the special adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, quotes the president as saying that the goal of his administration is the total deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry as a whole and not just the removal of subsidy on petrol.
The President commended Mr. 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 President Jonathan that his country also had to withdraw petroleum 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.
President Jonathan also received in audience the outgoing Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire, Amidou Diarra. The president told the diplomat that African leaders need to imbibe democratic tenets in order to enable peaceful transitions.
“It is important for African leaders to leave the stage when their time is up, so that we can strengthen democracy”, Mr. Jonathan said.
The president also said Cote d’Ivoire is making good progress and that the relations between the two countries is “robust”.
Responding, Mr. Diarra thanked President Jonathan and Nigeria for standing by Cote d’Ivoire during the conflict.
President Jonathan also received a special message from Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. The message was delivered by Wondimu Gezahegn, a minister of State in Ethiopia.