The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says thedecision of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to end the subsidy/under recovery regime will be a game changer for the oil and gas sector.
Dr Muda Yusuf, Director-General LCCI, said this in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday in Lagos.
Yusuf said that the move would be advantageous to the economy of the nation, and should be entrenched to prevent any form of reversal.
He said that urgent steps should be taken to consummate the reform process with an appropriate legislative framework.
According to him, such legislative review will reconcile the initiative with some extant laws.
“The decision of the NNPC to put an end to the subsidy/under recovery regime is a welcome development.
“It will be a game changer for the oil and gas sector and the economy as a whole, and the impact on the economy would be invaluable.“
“We are aware that similar attempts to undertake this crucial reform in the past have not been successful.
“However, we are confident that in the current dispensation, this will not be the case.
“There is need to ensure clarity on access to foreign exchange for petroleum marketers to import petroleum products.“Operators (who are currently in a quandary on this matter), are eagerly awaiting guidelines from the Central Bank of Nigeria on this critical aspect of access to forex for the importation of petroleum products,” he said.Yusuf also commended the NNPC’s pronouncements on the future involvement of the private sector in the operation of the moribund refineries.He said that this was another laudable initiative to ensure that national assets were put to use for the growth and development of our economy.”One of the critical elements of the Oil and Gas Sector reform, particularly the downstream sector, is the complete deregulation of the sector.”This was the spirit of the Petroleum Industry Bill which, regrettably, has got stuck in the legislative processes for close to two decades.“The investment opportunities in our Oil and Gas sector are huge, considering our crude oil reserves and the even bigger prospects in respect of our gas reserves.“The summary is that the dominance of the public sector in this space has significantly slowed down the progress and development of the oil and gas sector.“The sector is so strategic that it could easily have provided the lever to accelerate the diversification of the Nigerian economy,” he said.