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Petrol transporters pick holes in PIB

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The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) again faced fresh criticism as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), insisted that some sections of the proposed legislation are below par.

The group, while noting that the efforts being made on the legislation is commendable, stated that sections of the bill were unacceptable, especially the restrictions on the importation of petroleum products.

The National Assembly had passed the two-decade old bill last week. There have however been growing oppositions from trade groups, industry players and oil producing region.

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The restriction of license to import refined petroleum products to a small number of local refiners as provided in the bill, may worsen prevailing situation in the downstream sector of the industry, National President of NARTO, Yusuf Othman said in a statement in Abuja.

Noting that the haulage sector has always suffered in terms of scarcity of products and limited access to loading locations, Othman said: “We are seriously taken aback by the provision in the bill restricting importation license to only local refiners.”

According to him, all hands should be on deck to ensure that the PIB does not monopolise the importation of PMS as currently provided in the bill.

Othman stated that since the PIB is expected to ensure competition in the downstream oil and gas industry, provision to the contrary would make waste of all our collective efforts in that regard.

He said further that the composition of the board membership of the Industry regulator expected to be created by the new bill, will be transparent and fair if the association is considered on the board.

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“There is no denying the fact that transporters play very pivotal roles in the effective and efficient distribution of petroleum products across the country and their experience and expertise can never be over-emphasised. It is in the light of this that we call for our Inclusion in the boards of the industry regulator(s) most especially in the downstream sector of the industry as it will further strengthen effective and efficient distribution of petroleum products across the nation,” he noted.

With huge investment in the haulage business, Othman said it remained critical for the PIB to provide adequate encouragement and incentives to IOCs and indigenous oil producers to invest in the refining sector of the oil and gas industry.

“We strongly believe that such incentives will help in bringing in the much-needed investments in domestic refining.

“As the two Chambers of the National Assembly meet to harmonise their positions, we earnestly plead that these issues are taken on board as they would further enhance the possibility of harnessing the full benefits and potentials of the bill to enable it to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians,” Othman noted.

He pledged the group’s support for the bill, stressing the need to accord the document accelerated assent by the president.

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NARTOPIBYusuf Othman
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