The Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has declared an end to the existence of some agencies buoyed by the full deregulation of the country’s oil industry.
Sylva made the disclosure while speaking with newsmen in Abuja, administrative capital of Nigeria.
The minister specifically mentioned the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, ( PPPRA) and the Petroleum Equalisation Board, (PEF) as agencies that will no longer be in existence.
The two agencies do not, according to reports, operate a transparent system where the number and identities of their staff are made readily available on their websites but an industry source, in an interview with this leading online newspaper in Africa, gave conservative number of staff and contractors at the PPPRA and PEF as over 17,483. All these staff will be affected by the gale of sack or redeployment blowing across the industry.
The minister particularly noted that it would be an aberration for the two agencies to continue to exist in their present form in a fully deregulated downstream sector.
PEF was established to administer uniform prices of Petroleum products throughout the country by reimbursing a marketer’s transportation differentials for petroleum products movement from depots to their sales outlets.
The PPPRA was equally established in 2003 to, among other responsibilities, monitor and regulate the supply and distribution, and determine the prices of petroleum products in the country.
The Minister of Petroleum maintained that the two regulatory agencies would be subsumed under a new agency with different nomenclature.
He said:” PEF will no longer exist after the Petroleum Industry Bill even PPPRA will no longer exist. They will be subsumed under what is going to be a new authority. But, I do not want to go into the PIB now. They will reincarnate in a different form but not exactly in this form but of course, I do not want to preempt the passage of the PIB. It is for the National Assembly. So, there is going to be a role for them. They are not going to be obliterated. But they will be subsumed.”
Sylva assured Nigerians that plans were in the offing to revive the existing refineries to produce at their respective installed refining capacities.
He further expressed confidence that the deregulation of fuel prices at retail outlets would encourage investors to the industry as he insisted that the old order of price-fixing was a big disincentive to investment in local refineries.
“Talking about refineries, what we have done is to sequence the rehabilitation of the refineries. We are going to start first with Port Harcourt refinery. In Port Harcourt, we have two refineries; the old refinery and new refinery. The old refinery of 60,000 barrels and the new refinery which is a total capacity of 250,000 refining capacity. Now, there is going to be the third refinery with Port Harcourt refinery which is going to be private refinery.
“Discussion is ongoing in the rehabilitation of Warri and Kaduna as well. And I want to assure you that with deregulation, it would not be difficult for us to fix these refineries because this will be commercially viable ventures now and properly managed. “Government is not going to continuously manage them.
We want to put the operate and manage contract so that the professionals’ managers of refineries will take over the management of these refineries. Before now, because of subsidy, no professional will take over the management of a refinery when he is going to be producing at a loss. But now, every professional manager of the refinery is interested in managing these refineries.
There is a lot of interest in managing these refineries because of this policy direction. We believe that the 3 or four refineries in Nigeria will soon be rehabilitated and back to production because of deregulation.”