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Chairman of MOMAN Adetunji Oyebanji made the statement during a panel session at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference and Exhibition themed, ‘Fortifying the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry for Economic Stability and Growth.’
Oyebanji said the PIB recently passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives was needed to liberalise the downstream sector, especially the PMS, and put an end to fuel subsidy.
“The PIB, when signed into law by the president, will prescribe an open market for pricing of petroleum products,” he said.
“It will increase investment in the sector and improve our domestic refining capacity, especially with the coming on stream of the Dangote Refinery and the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries.
“So, the enabling environment is gradually being created, to enable us to move to full deregulation of the downstream sector in the not-too-distant future,” he further said.
The National Assembly passed the much-awaited PIB last week, although there are still concerns regarding the bill, which industry analysts say should be fixed by the National Assembly before submitting to the president for assent.
Oyebanji noted that efforts by the Federal Government to remove subsidies on petrol had been met with stiff resistance from the Organised Labour and the civil society organisations.
“The argument has always been that Nigeria needs to improve its refining capacity before subsidy on petrol is abolished and with investments coming from the passage of the PIB, this will become possible.”
According to him, the landing cost of petrol at the moment was about N210 while the product was being dispensed to Nigerians at between N162 to N165.
He said the huge amounts being used in subsidising petrol could be channelled to other critical sectors of the economy which would be of more benefit to Nigerians.
“We believe that a fully deregulated market will increase efficiency, competition and attract more investments to the sector,” Oyebanji added.
Also in a separate development, a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council Bismark Rewane said that government must ensure that funds realised from subsidy impacted Nigerians when the PMS was fully deregulated.
“The funds must be used simultaneously for healthcare, scholarship, and other impactful venture that would ensure people paying higher for PMS should also see where their investments are going to and impacting socio-economic development.”