By Udeme Akpan
THE Federal Government has been called upon to liberalise the downstream sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry in order to eliminate subsidy, currently incurred in the process of massive fuel importation.
Specifically, oil Marketers, under the aegis of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, that made the call said the policy would also enhance investment in the sector.
The Chief Executive Officer/Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr Clement Isong, said the introduction of the policy was overdue, adding: “downstream petroleum industry regulations should be in line with international best practice.”
He stated: “As the market players grow their businesses, they will increasingly become exposed to risk management challenges and will move their capital to areas where return matches the risks.
“We recommend that government should deregulate pump prices and focus on enforcing compliance with adequate regulations on health, safety, environment and quality.
“Deregulation will also enable the Nigeria Railway Corporation to lift more products from the South to other parts of the country to reduce transportation.”
Similarly, the Executive Secretary, DAPPMAN, Mr Olufemi Adewole, said that the current increase in the landing cost of petroleum products has renewed the call for the full deregulation of the downstream subsector of the nation’s oil and gas industry.
He observed that said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has been the sole importer of petrol into the country for more than a year as private oil marketers stopped importation due to shortage of foreign exchange and increase in crude oil prices.
The National President of IPMAN, Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, also said total deregulation of the downstream sector would attract more investment, create more jobs and reduce the pressure on foreign reserves.