Marketers operating in the downstream industry have said that deregulation remains an enabler for a private sector investment.
The marketers who spoke at the just concluded Nigerian Petroleum Downstream Summit Webinar, in Lagos said the downstream industry requires significant investments to raise standards along the supply chain.
They said this included improving the refining capacity, pipelines, trucks, depots, filling stations and supporting the ancillary and derivative industries that would emerge from an improved downstream sector.
The marketers, however, said investors required an attractive environment, devoid of uncertainties.
The panellists who spoke at the online discussion were Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, MD 11 Plc and Chairman Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Dame Winifred N. Akpani, MD/CEO Northwest Petroleum and Gas Company Limited and also the Chairman Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN). Others includes, Hajia Amina Maina, Group Chief Operating Officer MRS Holdings Limited, Mr. Huub Stokman, CEO OVH Energy Marketing Limited, Dr. Billy S. Gillis-Harry, National President Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Dr. Timothy E. Okon, Managing Partner Teno Energy Resources Limited and Mr. Stanislas Drochon, Head of Africa Strategy and Transformation PUMA Energy who dialled in from Johannesburg, South Africa.
The panellists were delighted that government was taking the issue of full deregulation seriously and had taken some important steps noting that the country would benefit by going beyond the current steps taken. They informed the audience of their full support for government policy on alternative fuels such as CNG.
According to them, the conversation with government and other stakeholders continues to ensure the process is completed as soon as possible, creating a win-win situation for Nigerians, the government, stakeholders, and the industry.
The panellists also opined that maintaining the petrol subsidy (which results in operational inefficiencies and is not sustainable) would not be an appropriate channel to support or plan for the future of Nigeria. They added that instead, the removal of price controls, allowing market forces and competition to determine prices, especially for PMS will benefit the country and the industry.
However, panellists said that appropriate new legislation needed to be put in place and enforced as deregulation could only be as effective as the legal framework put in place to guide it.
The panellists also said that the survival and indeed, the growth of the downstream oil industry is important to Nigeria and Nigerians as it already provides employment directly and indirectly to millions of Nigerians via the industrial sector, construction sector, transportation sector, station sales and administrative personnel, regulatory personnel and other businesses that service and support the downstream, and will provide much more as new industries emerge using outputs from the new refineries and petrochemical industries as inputs and raw materials.
The panellists said full deregulation has a role to play in liberating the economy by saving the government from spending trillions of Naira on fuel subsidies.
According to panellists, the money saved can be used to grow the economy by investing in infrastructure, educating the next generation of Nigerians and keeping the population healthy.
“This in turn will generate revenue for the country, creating an avenue for Nigeria to leave the poverty trap and emerge as the refining hub for West and Central Africa.”
It was gathered that a total number of 748 people registered for this webinar with a peak attendance of 304 at the same time during the event.
The organisations represented includes, government agencies, industry regulators, state governments, market operators, international traders, Civil Society Organizations, members of the press, consulting firms, Colleges and Universities.