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Petrol marketers insist on full deregulation as NNPC mulls fresh investment

By Kingsley Jeremiah and John Akubo, Abuja
03 March 2022   |   2:45 am
With the scarcity of premium motor spirit (PMS) persisting in the country, marketers in Abuja, yesterday, insisted on full deregulation of the downstream sector, even as the Nigeria National

Senate President asks Buhari to transmit the bill to amend PIA

With the scarcity of premium motor spirit (PMS) persisting in the country, marketers in Abuja, yesterday, insisted on full deregulation of the downstream sector, even as the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited considered a fresh investment in refineries and gas infrastructure.

This was as Senate President Ahmad Lawan, yesterday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to transmit a bill to the National Assembly to amend the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). According to him, a request seeking an amendment to the PIA will enable the National Assembly to make the subsidy regime in the Act align with the President’s request for an additional N2.557 trillion to cover subsidy in the 2022 budget from July this year.

Nigeria’s inability to refine petroleum products locally, despite being a leading crude oil producer, has created perennial scarcity, amid a huge subsidy burden estimated at above N3 trillion in 2022 alone.

Speaking at the Nigerian International Energy Summit (NIES), Group Executive Director, Refining, NNPC, Mustapha Yakubu, said efforts at rehabilitating refineries are in top gear, noting that deregulation of the downstream sector will boost the country’s domestic refining capacity.

“We believe there is a need to improve our domestic refining capacity. That is why the NNPC is embarking on total rehabilitation of our four refineries and not just the usual Turn Around Maintenance.

“We are going to have locally refined products after completion of the rehabilitation. We also have the Dangote Refinery coming up in Lagos, while the Waltersmith Refinery in Imo is already in operation,” he said.

Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Managing Director, 11 Plc, Tunji Oyebanji, decried the postponement of full deregulation of the downstream sector.

According to him, the move remains a major setback for the industry. He said liberalisation of the sector would enable investors across the value chain to have adequate returns on their investments.

Executive Director of Rainoil Ltd., Emmanuel Omuojine, equally noted the need to remove subsidy on petrol.

Asking the government to take the right step on subsidy, Omuojine said removing subsidy would add significant value to Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves on the macroeconomic level.

Chief Executive, OVH Energy Marketing Ltd., Huub Stokman, said the current challenge with scarcity of petrol is a clear indication that Nigeria needs a good emergency plan.

Earlier, Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, said the growth of gas business and low carbon intensive oil remains the focus of the new company.

Kyari said: “We are building gas super-highways to connect gas sources to both existing and new markets. My vision is to see NNPC emerge as one of the top five gas companies within the next decade.”

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