Deregulation of Nigeria’s downstream oil industry has been identified as the panacea for the myriad of issues facing the sector, as non-government interference being practiced in developed countries will open up the sector for development.
The former Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) Obafemi Olawore, said the over $2billion oil subsidy claims owed oil marketers has forced many of them to shut operations, and urged government to settle their claims before the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) takes over the remaining businesses.
Speaking in Lagos, at a sent-forth dinner held in his honour by MOMAN, Olawore said the difficulties in recovering their money from government is the reason some oil marketing companies left Nigeria, citing Forte Oil’s recent notice to divest from some of its investments, following Mobil, Chevron, and Texaco’s sale of their holdings in downstream operations.
“Subsidy is not free money as some erroneously believed, as those who came in to profit have left, leaving the space for real players, who believed in what they are doing. Despite reconciliation and various meetings called to know when the debt will be paid, nothing is forthcoming from the government’s side,” he said.
Olawore, with over 26 years experience at MOMAN, argued that the goal of the Association is to have a free market oil industry with all the qualities inherent that will allow free entry and exit without government interference but provision of only regulatory framework.
“Deregulation of the oil industry with strong regulators will allow for participation of real investors in the sector. From the time of General Ibrahim Babangida, we have been clamouring for deregulation; and it is sad that Ghana that came here to study how Petroleum Product Pricing Agency (PPPRA) worked had gone back to their country, set up their own agency for product pricing and have deregulated, so what is our excuse?
“MOMAN’s goal will be achieved when we have a free market, as no one will be owed; and all will work optimally with forex issue not arising, as this has left so many oil marketers almost bankrupt though the situation is okay now.”
On his next step, he said: “Having come this far, the next step is to go into an area that will keep integrity intact, provide food on the table, energy for humans as I am going into agriculture to feed all.”
Also, the former MOMAN Chairman, Akin Akinfemiwa, said Olawore has been a shinning light to the Association and his impact was felt throughout his tenure.
He also praised him for being devoted to the job, and despite all the challenges involved, he left with his integrity intact
Source: The Guardian