ByÂ Udeme Clement
LAGOSâ€”The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Shehu Ladan, has declared that the organisation would not prevent the Federal Government from the privatisation of the nationâ€™s refineries, stressing that the plants belong to government and not NNPC.
He said this while addressing petroleum engineers in Lagos.
Relatedly, he added that NNPC has concluded arrangement to meet with the International Oil Companies, IOCs, to deliberate exhaustively on the key areas of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, that has been in National Assembly since 2008.
â€œThe Bill is still in the National Assembly waiting to be passed into law, which means the door is still open for dialogue and suggestions.
”Also, the Senate is still working on the Bill to ensure that everything is in order and we are ready to meet with the chief executives of IOCs to discuss on some grey areas of the bill,â€ he stressed.
Ladan added, â€œthe bill when passed into law would bring positive benefits to the economy and would ensure conformity with best international practices.
The fiscal incentives would be enhanced to boost investments in the petroleum sector in order to generate more revenue for government.â€
Responding to the on-going transformation process in the sector, he said, â€œtransformation does not mean being too mechanical or rigid about certain things in the system.
There must be room for adjustment and flexibility even in the face of major problems on ground.
This would pave way for constant dialogue and understanding with other bodies and key players in the sector because dialogue is the only way to solve every problem in the sector.Â It would also yield good results as cooperation of joint venture initiative would be enhanced.
Look at Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) for instance. 10 years back, it was on the drawing board trying to come up with efficient framework of its operations and today NLNG is a success storyâ€.
His assertion: â€œOur challenge is to ensure that transformation of the sector is fully implemented, such that oil companies become totally committed to generating sufficient gas for the sector. We must also put measures in place to ensure constant supply of fuel to every part of the country to prevent any situation of scarcity.
We believe that there is no alternative to deregulation of the downstream sector, as the exercise would make the sector more productive in the long-runâ€.
Our investigations revealed that government sees the Bill as a tool to derive more revenue from petroleum resources through taxes payable by oil companies while the IOCs doing business in Nigeria had expressed reservations about the PIB not withstanding the fact that the proposed legislation has been endorsed by International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The IOCs are of the opinion that the controversial bill should be free from government control to prevent monopoly in the sector.