Oil marketers under the aegis of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Organised Private Sector have disagreed with the proposed single regulator for the nation’s oil and gas industry.
In the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, which has been passed by the National Assembly, the Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission replaces the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Inspectorate and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency as the sole regulator for the entire industry.
The oil marketers and the OPS, at a joint briefing in Lagos on Sunday, said having a single regulator for the upstream and downstream sectors of the industry would create too much bureaucracy and make the process of decision-making cumbersome.
The Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, said, “Our position is that one regulator for the industry will be too big as to be very effective. It is going to be humongous and a behemoth, and may even lose shape and become amorphous.
“At the very beginning, we had only one regulator in the industry, and we found out that it was able to police the industry very well. We believe that the upstream (sector) is enough, not to think of bringing the troublesome downstream. The upstream is relatively quiet but the volume of work there is massive; so, you need a regulator that will pay attention to it.”
He stated that one regulator would become ineffective, adding, “Therefore, our recommendation is that we want two regulators – one for the upstream and the other for the downstream.”
According to Olawore, the downstream and upstream sectors have little or nothing in common.
“Why do you want to create another monster, so to speak, that we will want to break in future? As far as we are concerned, we believe that having one is detrimental to the industry and the economy. And we want to say that the National Assembly should look at having two regulators for the industry,” he said.
He added that the two regulators should have independent status, with their heads not subject to removal by the President.
The Chairman, Economic Policy Committee, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Reginald Odiah, expressed worry that the OPS, compromising MAN;, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association; Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, among others, was not carried along before the bill was passed.
“The bill came all of a sudden; we didn’t have enough time to look at it. Many of the critical stakeholders didn’t contribute much to it. Our position is very clear as the OPS under the chairmanship of MAN, that we are interested in having two regulatory bodies,” he said.
The Executive Secretary, DAPPMAN, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, stated that the marketers had recommended the creation of two independent regulatory bodies during the public hearing held before the bill was passed by the lawmakers.
“But this was not taken into consideration or adopted; so, before the President signs it, that is why we are highlighting the issues so that they can be considered for possible amendment,” he added.
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