By Adewale Sanyaolu
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has vowed to investigate complaints of monopoly in the oil and gas sector.
Managing Director of NPA, Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, gave the assurance during an inspection of Snake Island Integrated Free Zone (SIIFZ) and Nigerdock in Lagos yesterday.
Bala Usman maintained that NPA under her watch would ensure a level playing ground and the enabling operating environment for oil and gas sector players to ensure that the necessary legislations to block any form of monopoly in the oil and gas logistics sub-sector are put in place.
The NPA boss equally commended the management of Nigerdock for its commitment to indigenous capacity in Nigeria.
‘‘We appreciate the need for local content development and we would push for their successes in Nigeria. We are keen on proper regulation that will promote transparency in the sector because no monopoly will be helpful to the development of the Nigerian economy. We are working to ensure there is adherence to local content policy within the environment while ensuring strict adherence to the employment of Nigerians within their operations.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of Jagal Group, owners of Snake Island Integrated Free Zone (SIIFZ) and Nigerdock, Mr. Anwar Jarmakani, lamented that Nigeria currently loses about $1.5 billion yearly due to the monopoly in the logistics and supply services sector of the oil and gas industry.
The Jagal Group boss lamented that the oil and gas supply and logistics service in Nigeria is the most expensive in the world, with the monopoly adding an extra cost of $3-5 on a barrel of crude oil produced in Nigeria, thus translating to over $1.5 billion per annum.
The $1.5 billion revenue loss is coming at a time that crude oil price is at its all time low, leading to cost saving measures by many International Oil Companies (IOCs).
Jarmakani, however, thanked the NPA boss for her visit and assured that his company would continue to invest to give jobs to Nigerians.
He urged the NPA boss to use her office to ensure a level playing field for all stakeholders in the shipyard, ship-building and logistics business.
“Nigeria must sell itself; we must sell what we are good at. We need consistency in government policies because we bring benefits to the nation.
“We have sunk $500 million on this Island. Our core areas of competence include ship building, maintenance and logistics for the oil and gas industry. We want to do our business in compliance with the laws of Nigeria. We will do nothing that is not in alignment with the laws of the Federal Government of Nigeria. We are determined to support this government because we are in serious recession.”
Jarmakani regretted that the dominant monopoly in the Nigerian oil and gas logistics and supply services had existed for over 20 years, sabotaging the national economy, conspiring and working against potential competitors, particularly against SIIFZ.
‘‘This monopoly has consistently and aggressively used different government institutions, which included Customs, NPA, Ministry of Transportation and others to harass, compromise and entrench its monopoly position with impunity,’’ he lamented.