The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria have called for a “serious rethink” on the provision in Petroleum Industry Bill that restricts the import licence of petroleum products to only refiners in the country.
The leadership of PENGASSAN and NUPENG, in a joint statement on Tuesday, appreciated the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives for the passage of the much-awaited bill.
The statement said, “It is an undeniable fact that NUPENGASSAN over the years consistently advocated for the passage of this bill, as we firmly and strongly believed that the PIB is a singular piece of legislation that could further unlock the fortunes of the oil and gas industry, even as the world is positioning itself on the energy transition that will revolutionize different energy mix.
“Having taken a cursory look at the bill as passed by both chambers of the National Assembly, we are fully in consonance with several provisions of the bill and are satisfied that our advocacy for a balanced bill that would encourage investors and generate additional revenue for government was somewhat captured.
“However, there are few very important areas we wish to urgently draw the attention of the legislators and stakeholders to for wholesome realisation of the full potentials of the bill.”
The unions called for their inclusion on the board of the industry regulator(s), describing this as crucial to ensuring accountability and transparency in the industry.
“The needs and justifications for this are many and enormous as it will also ensure that the regulators are further strengthened in ensuring that issues bordering on the welfare of workers would have been championed from the cradle of the bill,” it said.
On the fuel import licence restriction, the unions said called “for caution and serious rethink on the provision in the bill that restricts import license of products to only few refiners in the country”.
They said, “This provision will stifle price competition and leave pricing to be solely dictated by a few local refiners which is against the spirit, letters and intent of this bill.
“The bill should be crafted in a manner that will engender competition while also encouraging local refining. We should avoid running from one ugly scenario to an uglier situation that is avoidable.”
The unions noted that it had advocated for a single regulator in the industry, adding, “We are still of the strong view that this would be in the best interest of the industry and the nation at large as it would serve as a one-stop-shop for current and aspiring investors as far as regulatory steering is concerned.”
They advocated that the PIB should provide sufficient incentives to international and indigenous oil producers to invest in the downstream sector of the industry.
“We strongly believe that such incentives will help in driving the much-needed local refining,” the unions added.