Manufacturers operating under the Petroleum Product Sectoral Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have decried what they called over-regulation of their activities in the sector, describing such regulations as imposing additional financial burden on them, as well as making the business environment unfriendly.
According to the manufacturers, there is a need for the agencies to clearly define and harmonize their responsibilities with a view to ensure that operators are not over-burdened with the same regulatory requirements from different agencies.
In an interactive session with National Environmental Standards Regulatory and Enforcement Agency (NESREA) and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the manufacturers noted that there is an increasing overlapping function of regulatory agencies ?hindering operations in the industry.
They added that numerous charges and fees imposed by the agencies such as environmental development charge; chemical storage permit; laboratory analysis and the other charges have compelled companies to use the associates of the agencies' officials for the assessment and audit report at ridiculous prices.
Chairman of the Sectoral Group, Dr. Okey Akpa lamented that the Group had received increasing complaints from companies bordering on regulations, monitoring and compliance.
According to him, the forum was organized to interact with the environmental regulatory agencies to foster cordial relationship between members and the regulators as well as to have a better understanding of their policies/functions, in order to explore areas of collaborations and partnerships to improve friendlier business environment for manufacturing concerns.
Also speaking, the Director-General of NOSDRA, Peter Idabor, explained that the agency was established in 2006 as an institutional framework to co-ordinate the implementation of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) for Nigeria in accordance with the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC 90) to which Nigeria is a signatory.
Since its establishment, he added that the Agency has been intensely occupied with ensuring compliance with environment legislation in the Nigerian Petroleum Sector, both in the downstream, midstream and upstream sector.
Idabor, who was represented by Daniel Okoromu of the Lagos Zonal Office, noted that the agency will beam its searchlight on the retail end of the downstream sector, by monitoring spills across many fuel stations.
The sub-group chairman of the Petroleum Product Sectoral Group, Adesoji Fagbemi said the issue of over-regulation became worrisome when industrial activities that ought be regulated by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) were also being regulated by other agencies and NAFDAC.
Fagbemi lamented that there were too many requirements as regards the issue engaging consultants only approved by agencies, thus leading to duplication of costs.
The Director General /CEO of NESREA, Dr Lawrence Chidi Anukam said the agency is abreast of the issues raised and exploring ways to collaborate with other stakeholders to address the issues raised.
According to him, NESREA focuses on protection of the environment by ensuring that manufacturers do the right thing in the area of waste disposal into the environment.