Uche Usim, Abuja
The Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) has called for complete deregulation of the oil and gas sector as a panacea to the unending petrol scarcity imbroglio and controversial subsidy payouts which gulps trillions of naira annually.
The association said deregulation of the sector will naturally enthrone price stability and scrub off the opacity and tardiness in the current subsidy payment arrangement, which has also woefully failed to tackle periodic products scarcity nationwide.
The National President of NOGASA, Benneth Korie who stated this at the inauguration of Lagos Zonal chapter of the association recently in Lagos said it was worrisome that citizens of an oil producing country would be made to suffer products scarcity.
According to him, the government, while removing fuel subsidy should look inwards to establish ways of assisting both marketers, distributors and end users through the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF).
He said, “When subsidy is removed, people will sit up and prices will go down on their own. If you leave the government alone to be doing all these things, the prices will continue to fluctuate, but the government must be willing to help the masses through effective implementation of equalization function of PEF to achieve the uniform pricing of petroleum products”.
He assured Nigerians that the group will ensure the continuous and effective supply and distribution of gas in the country and guard against product scarcity nationwide.
He explained that in the event of possible threat of gas supply at any time in the country, its members will be willing to assist to curb the effect as they know what to do at such times to ensure effective distribution of the product.
Korie pointed out that when NOGASA is fully in operation, the group will equally resolve the bottlenecks around marketing of gas products in the country.
He attributed the problem largely to the not too willingness of banks to loan money to petroleum products marketers.
“Banks don’t give money to petroleum marketers because of past experience they have and the system of their business. No bank would want to give you money when you are continually having problems in your business, most banks are very careful dealing with petroleum product marketers that’s why you see it seems as if the marketers are not doing well”, he added.
The National President of the association, however, noted that the matter will soon be resolved to win the bankers’ confidence in the industry as NOGASA is partnering with all relevant agencies of government and stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to resolve the bottleneck and move the business forward.
He also stated that once the zones are completely inaugurated NOGASA will fully commence operation nationwide, and will bring lots of changes into the system.
“Nigerians will be happy with NOGASA because it is for the businessmen and the masses, there will be a lot of sanity in the system when we come onboard full time. We have inaugurated the Enugu zone and we have just finished with Lagos; Kano and Benin are next in line and once that happens you will see a lot of surprises”, he said.
Korie however while inaugurating the Lagos Zonal Executives urged them to keep their oath of office and respect one another while criticizing its leadership constructively only when necessary and in the interest of the association, he also stated that decisions must be taken only after due consultations.
He also reminded members to bear in mind that while NOGASA is all about assisting businessman that is genuine, they must do their business with honesty and make sure they do not take laws into their hands.
The National President Further charged the Zonal Leader immediately commence the inauguration of state chapters under them, but must see that all elections for the emergence of the State Executives are free and fair.