By Adewale Sanyaolu
The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), has warned against the monopoly status granted local refiners in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
National President of NARTO, Yusuf Othman, argued that the restriction of license to import refined petroleum products to a small number of local refiners would lead to inefficiency and corruption.
According to him, NARTO hauls over 90 per cent of petroleum products consumed in the country, adding that sections of the bill may not drive a level playing field, especially in the downstream sector of the industry.
NARTO while commending the bill and pledged support for it, however called on the National Assembly to address the prevailing concerns of stakeholders before the final passage of the PIB.
He maintained that the haulage sector has always suffered in terms of scarcity of products and limited access to loading locations. “We are seriously taken aback by the provision in the bill restricting importation license to only local refiners.”
According to him, all hands should be on deck to ensure that the PIB does not monopolise the importation of petrol as provided in the bill.
Othman stated that since the PIB is expected to ensure competition in the downstream oil and gas industry, provision to the contrary would make waste of all our collective efforts in that regard.
“There is no denying the fact that transporters play very pivotal roles in the effective and efficient distribution of Petroleum products across the country and their experience and expertise can never be over emphasised.
It is in the light of this that we call for our Inclusion in the boards of the industry regulator(s) most especially in the downstream sector of the industry as it will further strengthen in ensuring effective and efficient distribution of petroleum products across the nation,” he noted.
With huge investment in the haulage business, Othman said it remained critical for the PIB to provide adequate encouragement and incentives to IOCs and indigenous oil producers to invest in the refining sector of the oil and gas industry.
“We strongly believe that such incentives will help in bringing in the much-needed investments in domestic refining.
“As the two Chambers of the National Assembly meet to harmonise their positions, we earnestly plead that these issues be taken on board as they would further enhance the possibility of harnessing the full benefits and potentials of the bill to enable it meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians,” Othman noted.
He pledged the group’s support for the bill, stressing the need to accord the document accelerated assent by the president.