Operators in the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry have urged the next president of the country to prioritise abolishing the wasteful petrol subsidy and fully deregulate the sector as provided by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.
The downstream operators under the aegis of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) made the call in their separate phone chats with THISDAY.
The unions also advised the next president to pick his appointees for the petroleum ministry from the pool of competent and experienced industry operators among them to provide efficient management of the oil sector.
Speaking with THISDAY on the expectations of the industry players from the next president, Managing Director of 11Plc and immediate-past Chairman of MOMAN, Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, stressed the need for full deregulation of the downstream sector.
He specifically urged the incoming president to fully deregulate the downstream sector, finally ditch the subsidy regime and allow a free market environment to prevail in the petroleum products marketing business.
Oyebanji argued that subsidy is one of the things drawing the industry and the economy back, saying removing it would allow investments to flow into the sector and ultimately improve the economy of Nigeria.
Also, National Operations Controller, IPMAN, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, urged the incoming president to deregulate the downstream sector and remove petrol subsidy as he had promised during his campaigns.
Osatuyi also suggested setting up a committee involving industry players and critical stakeholders including the civil society in order to work out some palliative measures to cushion the adverse effect of the policy on the poor masses.
“Definitely, he has to deregulate the downstream as he had promised. But while doing that, he has to also talk about palliatives for the masses, “he said.
President of PETROAN, Dr Billy Gillis-Harry, said the next president should work with industry operators to deregulate the downstream sector and save the nation from further crisis caused by petrol scarcity.
He further suggested that the next president would need very effective hands to run the ministry of petroleum and all the necessary agencies and companies under it, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC).