By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€”The African Democratic Congress (ADC) has called on the National Assembly to passÂ the anti-trust legislation part of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the Federal Government goes ahead with deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum sector.
In a statement signed by the duo of the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Mustapha Mohammed, and the National Publicity Secretary, Darlington Nwauju, the party said for deregulation to succeed in the country,Â there was need for government to come up with a consistent and reliable policy framework to guarantee investorsâ€™ confidence and provide a level-playing ground for all stakeholders in the oil sector.
â€œThere should be a strong and vigorous anti-trust mechanism in place before deregulation. In our view, the development will prevent dominant players coming together to determine how much petroleum products should be sold,â€ it said
The party said the anti-trust law should be as strong as it is in Europe and America, adding that in Europe, if evidence of violation of the law was proven, it attracts serious sanctions.
Controlling and dominating the industry by a few individuals or entities, the party noted, would put the sector in trouble.
According to ADC, the regulator has to provide a level playing ground for every participant to have equal opportunity.
â€œThe regulator should ensure that no person through access to government or government agency has undue advantage over other competitors. The sector should be a free market where people can enter and exit at will.
â€œWe call on the National Assembly to pass the anti-trust legislation part of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before full deregulation can take off,â€ the party said.
Lamenting the waste of public funds by past government on the sector, the party said the federal government should take steps to resolve the problem of power for the refineries to function at optimal capacity.