Marketers operating in the downstream industry on Thursday said that full deregulation of the downstream industry remains an enabler for any private sector investment.
The marketers who spoke at the Nigerian Petroleum Downstream Summit webinar, in Lagos said downstream industry requires significant investments to raise the standards along the supply chain, from improving the refining capacity, pipelines, trucks, depots and filling stations to supporting the ancillary and derivative industries that will emerge from an improved downstream sector.
The marketers said however, investors required an attractive environment which devoid of uncertainty.
TBI Africa reports that the panelists were Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, MD 11 Plc, also 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, MD/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.
The panelists were delighted that government is taking this issue of full deregulation seriously and has taken some important steps, however, they believe that the country will benefit by going beyond the current steps taken.
According to them, this is an ongoing conversation with continued engagement with government and other stakeholders to ensure this process is completed as soon as possible, creating a win-win situation for Nigerians, the government, stakeholders and the industry.
The panelists 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 and allowing market forces and competition to determine prices, especially for PMS will benefit the country and the industry.
However, panelists said that appropriate new legislation needs to be put in place and enforced as deregulation can only be as effective as the legal framework that is in place to guide it.
The panalists also said that the survival and indeed, the growth of the downstream oil industry is important to Nigeria and Nigerians as it 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.
The panelists said the downstream petroleum sector has a role to play in liberating the economy by saving the government from spending trillions of Naira on fuel subsidies.
According to panelists, 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.
TBI Africa 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
Mr. Emeka Akabogu Chairman, Oil Trading and Logistics Africa Downstream (OTL) moderated the discussion.