The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) currently awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent may suffer further setback as fuel marketers and members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have faulted parts of the bill, saying they fall short of stakeholders’ expectations.
Addressing a joint media briefing in Lagos yesterday, Executive Secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Obafemi Olawore, his counterpart from the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Mr. Olufemi Adewole, and the Chairman, Economic Policy of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Reginald Odiah, representing the OPS, said the PIGB, if passed in its current form, would spell doom for the petroleum sector.
Olawore posited that the activities of the upstream and downstream sectors were entirely different and as such, should have two different industry regulators.
He explained that part of the problems confronting the downstream sector remained that of a single regulator overseeing the activities of the upstream and downstream sectors, warning that the inefficiency and lapses currently experienced in a single regulator regime should not be allowed to continue, hence the call by the stakeholders for separate regulators for the two sectors.
The MOMAN Executive Secretary said one regulator for the industry cannot bring about the desired change that stakeholders have always clamoured for, adding that any attempt to continue with the old order will further compound the challenges of the sector.
“The challenges of the downstream are so cumbersome that adding upstream role for a single regulator to oversee will make it very cumbersome and render such regulator ineffective as we are experiencing at the moment,” he said.
Olawore equally flawed the composition of the boards of government agencies under the current PIGB, saying they are mainly civil servants while members of the private sector have been completely neglected.
He was worried that such board composition was inimical to the growth of the petroleum industry because civil servants are coming to the board with government directives with no counter view of the other sector, warning that such board will not enjoy vibrancy in its operations.
For his part, Adewole regretted that the position of MOMAN and DAPPMAN at the public hearing on the PIGB advising against a single regulator for the industry was not taken into consideration in the final harmonisation of the PIGB.
“We marketers were at the PIGB public hearing at the National Assembly and there we made our position known that a single industry regulator would be inimical to the growth of the industry. But to our surprise, our position was not taken into cognisance in the harmonised PIGB,” he noted.