The Major Oil marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) have raised the alarm over the activities of briefcase investors in the downstream industry.
MOMAN Chairman,Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji stated this during a webinar seminar on Nigerian Petroleum Downstream Consultative Summit, yesterday.
He lamented that the activities of the unscrupulous businessmen who have no investment in the industry were depriving genuine operators access to forex.Adetunji urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to scrutinise the activities of faceless operators in the sector to avoid crowding out genuine investors from accessing forex.
The MOMAN chairman, who is also the managing director of 11 Plc, formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, disclosed that most downstream operators are going through a difficult time as their operations are now at its lowest ebb.
He said some of the operators have had to lay off workers, shut down fuel stations because they could not afford to service their debt obligations. He said the association was already in talks with the CBN to see how its members could have access to forex in a bid to turn around the fortunes of the sector which was taking a turn for the worse in the face of harsh economic realities.
The MOMAN boss lamented that quoted companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange operating in the downstream sector have had their investments of over 10 years turned negative because of the uncertainties in the economy. He advised that the way out of the logjam was for Government to speed up its deregulation agenda so as to enable existing and new players in the sector make more investment.
Speaking in the same vein, Chairman of Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Dame Winifred Akpan, said deregulation was the way out of the crises confronting the downstream sector.
She decried the incursion of government into the downstream industry both as a player and regulator, lamenting that the gains recorded in the past when there was robust private sector involvement in the industry has been eroded and most players are now quitting.
Akpan, who is also the Managing Director of Northwest Petroleum and Gas Company Limited, said some of the tank farms have been taken over by banks and AMCON over the inability of some of its members to service their loans as at when due.