…To pass PIB before May 2019
The National Assembly has that it has approved the payment of the subsidy debt owed the downstream sector players saying that the genuine debt would soon be paid to the operators in order to enable them carry on with their businesses.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara who disclosed this at the OTL Africa Downstream Week holding in Lagos, noted that the practitioners were being owed huge sums of money which he said was affecting their operation in the sector.
Dogara who was represented at the event by the Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream, Hon. Joseph Iranola Akinlaja noted that they had intervened at the level of the Senate and the House of Representatives, got some figures approved and had recommended same to the Executive for onward payment to those who were owed this debt.
In his word,” We in the Parliament realized this and we have intervened at the level of the Senate and the House of Representatives and we have got some figures approved and we have recommended to the Executive to pay those who are owed this debt so that we can reflate and wet the industry. That action has been taken from the parliament and so, I am just communicating that to you, that very soon, we have asked that we are working with the Executive to ensure that the genuine debt is paid to you”.
The Speaker further assured that they were committed to the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which he said had been in existence for seventeen years now, before the end of their tenure at the National Assembly next year.
“I want to bring a message here of goodwill of the speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara who I am representing here to say that by the grace of God, I am happy part of the people we are working with are in this arena, that we have said that before the end of our tenure in May next year, we are going to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill. He has said that and we are working on it because for seventeen years, seventeen years is too long for such policy direction in form of an Act of Parliament to be established. I have seen our partners in this hall that we are working with and that is what everybody is looking out for and he has said it and has given us a marching order to those of us in the committee that we must ensure that the journey is completed”, he said.
He added that the downstream sector in Nigeria had a huge opportunity to refining because of the population and the industrial and economic development even as he said that investors were encouraged to invest in the Nigeria’s downstream sector.
He recalled that the downstream sector in Nigeria exploded in the middle of 1980s when the pipelines came in saying that the seven sisters were monopolizing the downstream sector but later, the indigenization Decree came up and Nigerians came in to occupy the commanding height of the downstream sector.
“The pipelines came in, even though the pipelines have been sabotaged and a lot of problems facing investors in the downstream and distribution because of this sabotage but the opportunity is still there.
“I recognize Chief Okoli, the pioneer depot owner in Nigeria, he is the first person who invested in depot and today, there is association of depot owners in Nigeria, over two hundred of us now exist which shows that there is a great potential in the oil industry and apart from the seven sisters of those days, we have more than 5, 000 independent marketers now in Nigeria in the downstream sector that market the oil. Even the ridiculous marketers also reduced, when there is fuel scarcity, those who does not know the difference between the colour of PMS and Kero will be lining the streets, selling fuel, emergency independent marketers which tend to become a challenge to the marketers.
“The synergy that is required now which is the thrust of this week’s summit is the synergy between the producers of the fuel which is the refiners, the marketers, the depot owners and the haulage. If all of us will work together, I am sure; the value of downstream sector will be unleashed for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians in economic development”, he noted.
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