By Emmanuel Addeh
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has announced the postponement of the implementation of the new registration fees for oil and gas trainings in the country till further notice.
The Director and Chief Executive Officer of the agency, Mr. Sarki Auwalu, said the postponement was necessary, following the economic downturn occasioned by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Auwalu spoke during a web conference organised by the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN), tagged: ‘The Nigerian Oil and Gas Landscape: A World of Opportunities for Investments and Partnerships’.
The director explained that businesses and individuals, including oil and gas trainers and trainees were not exempted from the current hardship, noting that it was necessary to relieve them of the burden temporarily.
He said that the department had raised the fees and was about implementing before the pandemic, which he said has left everyone struggling for survival.
Auwalu pointed out that the subsisting registration fees had been in place for over 10 to 13 years, hence the upward review, adding that the agency was going to maintain the current position till after the pandemic.
He said: “How can we review the registration fee under this Covid-19. We all know, the current registration fee is over 10 years old. We have been carrying it for over 10 years and we reviewed it actually higher because every regulation that spends over 10 years is supposed to be reviewed, the economy has grown.
“But due to Covid-19, we have stood down the implementation of the new fees. This fee we are charging is almost 13 years, if you check. But we still maintained it because we needed to really encourage and not to add to the burdens. After this Covid-19, then we can see if it is desired and then we implement the new fee.”
Auwalu however stated that the DPR was passionate about entrenching competence and capacity in the oil and gas training space, adding that it was being cautious in granting permits to training organisations to checkmate quackery.
He noted that this also led to the segmentation of courses offered by the organisations so as to ensure that standards are met in the oil and gas industry.
“Really, we are trying to check quackery. A lot of people come to claim that they have capacity to train. If you want to provide a good opportunity, you really have to drill deeper to really regulate entrants and that is why the word ‘regulatory’ is synonymous with the opportunity we provide.
“Inasmuch as we have to protect the business, we can’t allow somebody who has the capacity, the talent, the equipment, everything, to compete with somebody who doesn’t have. So that is why we segmented it and we are using it to filter only those people that we know that have the capacity to provide certain trainings.
“After all, training is to enhance protection, save lives and ensure profitability. So the moment you let that loose, you lose everything, that is the reason we do that,” he said.
Earlier in the year, the regulatory agency inaugurated the Minimum Industry Safety Training for Downstream Operations (MISTDO) and fixed it as a prerequisite for all new and renewal of all downstream licences nationwide from 1st January, 2021.