The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to swiftly resolve the contentious issues raised about the Petroleum Industry Bill, and get it implemented for effective reforms and repositioning of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
The position of the union was made known at the end of a one-day workshop on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) organised for its members from the southern states, at the Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, recently.
The NUJ said, President Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) “represents a setback to the build-up of momentum from 18 years of efforts to introduce policy reform in the Nigerian oil and gas sector”.
Consequently, the union said the non-assent to the bill had further thickened the atmosphere of uncertainty that is costing the sector trillions of naira in withheld and diverted foreign direct investment.
The communiqué which was signed by the National President of NUJ, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, and National Secretary, Shuaibu Usman Leman, stated that, “the complacency that has informed the hesitation of key actors to embrace policy reforms stems from the erroneous belief that the reform can wait”.
The statement added that any further delay in the implementation of the PIB, and carrying of drastic reforms in the oil and gas sector, would drag the country backward in the global energy market, saying the scene was becoming, “increasingly crowded with new oil producers with more business friendly petroleum laws”.
The union noted that the future of the Nigerian petroleum industry depends on the outcome of the reform, warning that crisis abounds if the sector was not repositioned to survive and thrive in the current ecology of the oil market.
Drawing from the Venezuelan experience, the NUJ said the huge oil reserve of that country depleted due to lack of political will to conform to international best practices, noting that similar experience was imminent in Nigeria if urgent actions were not taken.
The statement also stated that the prospect of sustainable economic growth in the country depends on effective reforms in the oil and gas sector as, “Nigeria needs revenue from oil and gas to diversify the economy, and for the inflow of capital investment to stimulate our transition to a future without oil”.
The NUJ further urged the National Assembly to expedite action in the passage of the three remaining components of the PIB, and assured to use its platform to contribute to maximization of potentials in the sector.
The event featured presentations by industry analysts and discussion by participants.
MOMAN Seeks Representation In PIA Implementation Committee
The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, has called on the federal government to also appoint stakeholders in the sector to be part of the PIA implementation committee.
The call was made while presenting its newly appointed Chairman, Olumide Adeosun, CEO, Ardova Plc to newsmen, last week.
Adeosun while presenting his agenda for the Association, said inclusion of stakeholders in the PIA implementation committee, would make for more robust and balanced deliberation as the Act begins its six months gestation period.
“My appointment as Chairman of our respected association commences just as the Petroleum Industry Act has been encoded into law, marking the beginning of a new era for the downstream sector. As an association, this means that we must be at the forefront of unravelling the opportunities that come with operating in the free-market structures that have been created by the PIA, whilst continually advocating for changes that positively impact our industry and the Nigerian economy at large.
“I assure you that MOMAN will continue to be at the fore of both private and public partnership with the government in terms of discussing policies that would move the downstream forward. We enjoin the federal government to also include stakeholders in the sector, including the downstream which we represent, in the implementation committee of the PIA as this would give us the opportunity to make our input,” he said.
Adeosun succeeds Mr. Tunji Oyebanji, CEO, 11 Plc, who was Chairman from 2019-2021. His tenure as Chairman of the Association is with effect from September 01, 2021.
He enjoined the government to move the downstream sector towards full deregulation.
“I feel very privileged for the opportunity to serve as the Chairman of MOMAN in such an exciting time for our industry.
“As a collective, we are at the cusp of new beginnings for the sector and I envisage that as we move towards less price-controlled reality, our journey will make for interesting times,” he said.
His tenure which commenced on September 01, 2021, will run for two years, concluding in September of 2023.
“Making the transition to a fully competitive pricing oriented downstream sector will require the collective engagement and resolve of all stakeholders. I assure you that MOMAN will continue to be at the forefront in bridging the Government and private sector in ensuring that Nigeria has a viable energy sector. We will continue sustained engagement and the creation of initiatives that will make the implementation of this law a shared success for all concerned parties.”
He said the world is changing rapidly and that the oil and gas industry has been proven to be one of the most exposed to the winds of this change.
“The breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing measures designed to curb its spread – lockdowns and work from home – have shaped a new reality that challenges our operating structures. Also, this period of restrained movements has seen much of the world accelerate their drive towards zero or near zero utilisation of hydrocarbon-based energy sources. A clear indication that the days of hydrocarbons might be fewer than we have projected.
“We must adapt and evolve to prevent working wide-eyed into extinction. The gains to be had from operating in a PIA reality must be channeled towards pivoting the way we operate. This is the only way we can remain globally competitive. Our opportunity to make a first step towards this evolution will be found in Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The Federal Government’s push to increase nationwide usage of gas is commendable and is an initiative we should all support and take advantage of. The benefits to expanding our collective capacity in retailing gas extends beyond immediate additions to our bottom-line, as the impact on our environment, our communities and the larger economy make for a better future for us all,” he said.
Oil Marketers Push For Subsidy Removal Within Six Months
Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, has called for the full deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry within six months in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Addressing the press yesterday, the new Chairman of MOMAN, Mr. Olumide Adeosun, disclosed that the association has made its position on the issue known to the Federal Government through a letter to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.
He noted that the group expects a free, fair and competitive downstream sector, stressing that Nigeria has the potential to become Africa’s energy hub if the PIA is properly implemented.
He harped on the need for the PIA implementation committee to work with industry practitioners and operators to ensure that there is no disconnect between the policy provisions and actual practice.
Adeosun stated: “Making the transition to a fully competitive pricing oriented downstream sector will require the collective engagement and resolve of all stakeholders. I assure you that MOMAN will continue to be at the forefront in bridging the government and the private sector in ensuring that Nigeria has a viable energy sector.
“We will continue to sustain the engagement and the creation of initiatives that will make the implementation of this law a shared success for all concerned parties.”
Adeosun, who is the CEO of Ardova Plc (formerly Forte Oil), pointed out that with the PIA, “a new era has begun and we will work hard to make certain that the benefits of the liberalised downstream yields the desired effect for our business and the Nigerian economy.
“I believe that Nigeria can and will become the energy hub of Africa. MOMAN plays a very important role in achieving this vision in the downstream sector because no singular company makes a flourishing sector.”
Fuel Scarcity Hits Imo
Long queues surfaced at several filling stations in the heartland city of Owerri, Imo State capital on Saturday.
This is as some filling stations were selling petrol between N250 to N300 per litre.
According to newsmen, many petrol stations in the town were still under lock and key since Thursday when President Muhammadu Buhari visited the South-East state to commission a number of projects.
A trip from Akwakuma to Ware House junction, which usually costs N50, now goes for N150, while World Bank to Control junction that usually costs N50 now goes for N150.
A motorist, Emaka Opara, lamented the situation and urged the government to find a lasting solution to the problem of fuel scarcity.
“The government should find a lasting solution to this particular issue because we can’t keep on going this way every time,’’ she said.
At the NNPC filling station at Onitsha Road and few others, motorists queued to buy fuel.
The scarcity has caused untold hardship to residents of the state.
The same scenario played out at the Amakohia area as most petrol stations were closed and the few were selling as high as N300 per litre.
One of the salesmen at the Mobile filling station Egbu road explained that some of the filling stations had the product but had been instructed not to sell.
“Though some of us do not have, others prefer to sell to black marketers since they would make more profit,” he said.
Recall that filling Stations operating in Owerri had earlier shut down their businesses to protest the refusal of payment of compensation to one of their members whose filling station was damaged by former Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration.
Their action was based on a court judgment they obtained that the state government should pay compensation to their member. But the state government said it has appealed the judgment.
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