Lagos Chamber of Commerce tasks FG on oil sector reforms
.Calls for immediate passage of petroleum industry bill
By Udeme Clement
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has called on the Federal Government to give urgent attention to reforms of oil and gas sector of the economy, in order to enhance greater productivity in the downstream stream petroleum industry.
This formed part of the communiqué signed by the Director General of LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf,
at the just concluded bimonthly meeting in Lagos.
The Chamber also called for immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, to reposition the sector for tangible growth.
On the petroleum downstream private sector challenges, the DG said, “LCCI is worried that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has practically assumed a monopoly status in petroleum products importation in the economy.
“It has become practically impossible for private sector petroleum products marketers to import and sell products because of the price distortions, which the involvement of the NNPC has created in the industry”.
The LCCI DG went on, “The extant policy on pricing of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, has made it impossible for the private sector marketers to import PMS.
“It is more disturbing that even for the products, which have been deregulated such as AGO, it is impossible for private sector players to compete with NNPC, because of the huge cost differential resulting from preferential exchange rate and use of crude-swap for finished products importation”.
He continued, “The situation is that of a complete crowding out of the private sector in the downstream segment of the oil and gas sector.
“The absence of a level playing field is not good for the growth of the industry and in conflict with the competition law recently enacted. It also denies the economy of the much-needed private capital for investment in the sector.”
The meeting also stressed the need for government to scale up its commitment to Ease of Doing Business agenda, to ensure reduction in the operating cost for businesses in the economy.