By Ejiofor Alike
The oil marketing and trading companies, as well as the Organised Private Sector (OPS) has rejected the Â single regulator for both the upstream and downstream sectors of the Nigeriaâ€™s oil and gas industry as provided in the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) passed by the National Assembly.
In a joint press conference in Lagos last night, the OPS and the marketers under the aegis of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the PIGB provides for two regulators before signing the bill into law.
Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Mr. Femi Olawore, noted that the bill harmonized by the Senate and the House of Representatives provides for only one regulatory, contrary to the position of the marketers, who recommended for two regulators during the public hearing conducted by the National Assembly.
â€œOur position is that one regulator is inadequate for the entire industry. Historically, from the beginning, we had one regulator but we found out that the regulator was not able to police the industry very well. That was why PPPRA came up to deal with pricing. The upstream deserves one regulator because the activities are very massive. The downstream deserves one regulator because the activities in the downstream are quite different from the activities in the upstream. Each of them requires different specialists as the regulator. The two have little or nothing in common. One regulator for both will lead to excessive bureaucracy. Having one regulator will be detrimental to the industry and the Nigerian economy,â€ he explained.
Olawore argued that the board of the two regulators should be autonomous and not subject to removal by the President except with the support of two-third of the members of the National Assembly.
He noted that the board members of the single regulator in the PIGB are mostly civil servants, representing different ministries and government agencies, adding that the private sector is excluded from the board.
According to him, the board will not enjoy vibrancy as there will be no input from the private sector.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Economic Policy Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Reginald Odiah, who represented the OPS, said the exclusion of the critical stakeholders in the board of the single regulator is detrimental to OPS.
He added that as Nigerians, the OPS is a critical stakeholder in the oil and gas industry because their machines and equipment use petrol, diesel, gas and other petroleum products.
â€œAs OPS, we are interested in having two regulators for the oil and gas industry. The board of PPPRA has critical stakeholders as members and this gives OPS voice and capacity to make contribution,â€ Odiah added.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of DAPPMAN, Mr. Olufemi Adewole disclosed that the marketers had recommended for two regulators at the public hearing conducted by the National Assembly but the lawmakers ignored their recommendation.