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IPMAN urges FG to ensure PIB implementation’ll not increase hardship on Nigerians



IPMAN urges FG to ensure PIB implementation’ll not increase hardship on Nigerians

Debo Ahmed

Says cooking gas, autogas should be cheap and available

Stanley John

National Deputy President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, (IPMAN) Alhaji Debo Ahmed, has called on the Federal Government to ensure the proper management of the implementation of the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill such that it will not increase hardship on the already impoverished Nigerians.

He stated that the PIB is intended to protect the oil industry, develop the host communities and ensure harmonious relationship among the stakeholders in the oil industry as well boost Nigeria’s economy.

He counseled that the three percent revenue allotted for host communities in the bill should not be a source of contention between the oil bearing communities and the communities that the pipelines passed through since there is still 13 per cent derivation for oil bearing communities.

According to him, the National Assembly which included senators and members of the Representatives from the oil bearing communities must have holistically analysed the bill and synthesised contributions of stakeholders before majority of NASS members approved the bill.

Ahmed said, “The host communities have been put into the bill. Those host or oil bearing communities that are prospecting oil have 13 per cent derivation because definitely they are different from those that the pipelines passed through. The host community as an entity is part of the PIB institutional government, as it is aimed to create an environment that will be good for petroleum product operation.

“There are concerns and a lot of things are to come out of the PIB. Even before now, there is 13 percent derivation. If there is an additional three per cent, it is a lot of money and encouragement. The government did not say that derivation is no longer tenable. So if another three per cent is added and those that pipelines passed through their communities are included, there is nothing bad about it. The host or oil bearing communities have 13 derivations and the new 3 per cent. Those that have pipelines pass through their areas can also have pipelines burst and many areas could be polluted. I know the House will do something better for Nigerians. The three percent should not bring another crisis. Let us see what the House will do.”

Ahmed noted that the PIB was long overdue, adding that it is a good development that the bill has eventually been passed by the National Assembly.

He, however, pleaded with the government to ensure that the implementation of PIB will not add more hardship on Nigerians as the naira has fallen to the dollar.

According to him, with the falling value of naira to the dollar, and the commercialisation of petroleum products because of PIB implementation, prices of imported products will increase.

He noted that such increase in prices of imported products could increase hardship on Nigerians.

According to him, the implementation of some palliatives by the FG will go a long way to cushioning the lacerating effects of the implementation of some aspects of the PIB.

Ahmed said, “The effect of the PIB on the populace is that the naira is falling, everything depends on the naira/dollar exchange rate. We are importing, so definitely petroleum products will be higher. So if the prices are high, it will affect every economic activity. The common men in Nigeria are already boxed to the corner and they will find it difficult to manage.

“But if the government can bring out succour such that they can have some respite, it will lessen the hardship they are going to experience. The succour should be in the aspect of having government transportation at reduced price which could take care of some pressing issue of economic and human activities and some othe social amenities. Government can subsidise certain amenities.”

He added, “The PIB is long overdue and we are lucky it is coming out this time but the government should know how to manage it because change is a difficult thing in human life. We have been in this subsidy regime for almost 46 years, since 1975 and petrol has been subsidised for Nigerians. Nigerians have been used to it. So since it is going to be commerciallised where it is going to be full market, the management of that change should be well articulated by government. It is not easy presently with Nigerians moreso that the dollar is rising. If not because government is using a lot of money to subsidise, many more people would have been crying.

IPMAN urges FG to ensure PIB implementation’ll not increase hardship on Nigerians

“Immediately this PIB comes up and it is commercialised, petroleum prices will tend to increase so the government should know how they will manage it. And whatever they have as a result of this PIB being practicalised, they should use it for the benefit of the masses such that a lot of things can be subsidised for the masses. Even agricultural products can be subsidised. The government can increase agricultural equipment importation. Also a lot of cooperative socities can have access to equipment and other incentives so that they can go into farming and a lot of things will be done with the money. Nigerians are already crying from far off.”

“Since we will be going out of the fossil oil, the governemnt can as much as possible ensure that the gas prices do not escalate. Cooking gas and autogas must be available and cheap at all times because if they are not cheap, people will not even patronise them. We are lucky now that many Nigerians are enlightened and many of them are on gas, except in the villages. Villagers are not using it because it is not available. By the time it gets to that place, everything will be okay and people will tend to use gas than other energy materials like coal etc,” Ahmed said.

According to him, the National Assembly which included senators and members of the Representatives from the oil bearing communities must have holistically analysed the bill and synthesised contributions of stakeholders before majority of NASS members approved the bill.

He stated that the PIB will ensure proper governance regime in the oil industry.

Ahmed said, “The PIB is to give a proper governance to the petroleum industry. They will regulate the physical aspect of it. In those days, when you have the joint venture, anybody can give you any insult because there was no regulation.

“Now there is going to be good governance and transparency with the PIB. There will be transparency where anybody will know what is happening in the industry. That is why they established some commissions to take charge of some aspects of the industry. The PIB is based on five institutions: the Minister. The minister will have authority on everything without being disturbed. There is also the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission which also will have its function. In addition, there is the Nigerian Mainstream and Downstream Authority; the NNPC which will be a Limited Liability Company, and then the host community.

He stated that there is a great future for the oil industry.

According to him, there are still choices that are open to operators vis-a0vis global trends even with the vacuum left in the bill in the area of energy transition to cleaner fuels.

Ahmed said, “The issue of this fossil oil will soon go. Now everybody will be using gas. Infact the Nigerian Gas Expansion Programme is being propagated all over the country and you could see that there are many people who are converting their cars into gas-powered system. Gas is emission-free and it lasts longer with engines. It cleans the engine.There are lots of advocacy for the use of gas. All over the world, people are moving away from fossil oil to gas and turbine-generators because they are cheaper than the fossil oil. The gas system will come up while the petroleum era will go. “By 2040, the British said they would have abolished everything that is on gasoline, that they will go on gas, solar, battery and electricity to propel all their vehicles. In fact in Britain today, they are using electrical systems in all their ministries. Very soon, you will discover that petroleum-powered appliances will no longer be in use. Infact, Nigeria has started the process. A lot of stations are now adding gas stations to their complex where those who have converted their vehicles to gas-powered can buy and off they go. So the issue of petroleum products will be a thing of the past very soon or it will be reduced drastically.”

He however, noted that there could be transition to other forms of products from crude.

Ahmed said, “There are about 27 types of products in a single crude including gasoline, DPK, PMS, bitumen, etc. Other ones can be refined. They can change from fossil to others ones. Fossil can change to bitumen for our roads, etc. Like Dangote Refinery coming up now, there will be a lot of opportunities such as petrochemicals, fertilizers etc. There are so many products, if one goes off, another will come up.

According to him, the industry can still mitigate environmental pollution since oil and gas account for a large percentage of environmental degradation, whether there is energy transition or not.

Ahmed said, “That is why when they brought the PIB, the host communities will be taken into consideration. One of the aspects of the consideration is that they will create an environment conducive to petroleum product operation.

“So all these host communities, the PIB is going to take care of them because it is different from some area when the minister is not powerful. This time around, the Minister is powerful., the Upstream Regulatory Commission is powerful, the Main and Downstream Regulatory Commission is powerful and everybody has got its own function.
“They are to regulate this industry to make sure that nothing is left out of it. So the host communities are going to enjoy. The commission will make sure that they address the concerns of the host communities and make sure that things are to their advantage.”

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