Even as government says that it is having a rethink about the commencement date for deregulation, newly appointed Chairman of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Dr. Ahmadu Ali, has appealed to Nigerians to support wholesale deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
Speaking during the handover ceremony between him and the out-going Chairman, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, Dr Ali argued that deregulation is the only way to curtail the ‘heavy drain’ on Nigeria’s resources due to the huge amount of money expended by government in the name of petroleum products subsidy, adding that when implemented, it will positively impact on Nigerians.
Canvassing for speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the new PPPRA helmsman noted that part of the issues the PPPRA Board will be addressing is the need to create a conducive environment for enhancement of the nation’s refining capacity through private sector participation.
He however congratulated his predecessor; Rasheed Gbadamosi for the feats recorded in the downstream sector under his chairmanship, and pledged to build on those legacies towards the attainment of government’s reform agenda for the sector.
Responding, the outgoing Chairman called for total liberalisation of the downstream oil sector through deregulation, to eliminate the ills of the sector, even as he noted that the embarrassing experiences of long queues, black markets, products adulteration and smuggling of petroleum products had been effectively eliminated following the partial deregulation of the downstream sector, until recently when these anomalies reared their ugly heads again.
He listed some of the achievements which the sector witnessed between 2001 and 2008 to include: products availability nationwide; massive investments in downstream logistic facilities; greater participation by other stakeholders in products procurement, storage and distribution; as well as the creation of a level playing field.
According to him, other achievements included: employment generation; enhanced government revenue; value added service at pump stations; increased activities for the establishment of new refineries; as well as effective exercise of mediatory role among stakeholders for serenity in the industry.