The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), which mostly transports petroleum products across the country, has renewed its criticism of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which is being harmonised by the National Assembly ahead of its approval on Thursday.
While the efforts being made on the law are admirable, the group insists that some portions of the draft are inappropriate.
Last Thursday, the National Assembly passed the two-decade-old law. Parts of the plan, however, have been met with mounting criticism from trade groups, industry actors, and oil-producing regions.
The bill’s restriction of licenses to import refined petroleum products to a small number of local refiners may exacerbate the current situation in the downstream sector of the industry, particularly in terms of inefficiency and corruption, according to Yusuf Othman, National President of NARTO.
“We are significantly taken aback by the section in the bill restricting importation license to just local refiners,” Othman said, noting that the haulage sector has traditionally suffered from a lack of products and limited access to loading spots.
According to him, all hands should be on deck to ensure that the PIB does not impose any restrictions on the importation of PMS, as the bill now stands.
According to Othman, since the PIB is supposed to ensure competition in the downstream oil and gas business, any provision to the contrary would negate all of our previous work.
He also stated that if the association is considered for membership on the board of the industry regulator expected to be constituted under the new bill, the makeup of the board members will be transparent and fair.
“There is no denying the fact that Transporters play very pivotal roles in the effective and efficient distribution of petroleum products across the country and their experience and expertise can never be overemphasised. It is in the light of this that we call for our inclusion in the boards of the industry regulator(s) most especially in the downstream sector of the industry as it will further strengthen in ensuring effective and efficient distribution of petroleum products across the nation,” he noted.
With so much money invested in the haulage business, Othman believes the PIB must continue to give appropriate encouragement and incentives for IOCs and indigenous oil producers to participate in the oil and gas refining sector.
“We strongly believe that such incentives will help in bringing in the much-needed investments in domestic refining.
“As the two chambers of the National Assembly meet to harmonise their positions, we earnestly plead that these issues be taken on board as they would further enhance the possibility of harnessing the full benefits and potentials of the bill to enable it to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians,” Othman noted.
He expressed the group’s support for the bill, emphasizing the importance of the president’s quick assent.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN