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PRIVATE OPERATORS SHOULD DRIVE ACTIVITIES IN DOWNSTREAM - LEGISLATOR

By NBF News
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Chairman of House of Representative Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) Mr Dakuku Peterside, has advised the Federal Government to allow private operators to drive downstream business.

He told newsmen in Lagos that the committee came to the conclusion after inspecting some government facilities. Peterside said the committee believed that government could not be a good manager of business.

'We noticed that virtually all government owned downstream facilities have been ran aground, not properly maintained or almost obsolete. And we compared the government facilities with the privately owned ones and discovered that the private ones are well managed, properly maintained, regularly upgraded and world class,'' he said. Peterside said that virtually all facilities visited by the committees did not have kerosene in stock, while those that had were selling above the approved pump price.

He said that the fact that NNPC was the only importer of made it difficult to be available and within the reach of the common man. According to him, the committees admitted that there was an issue with getting kerosene to the right place at the right price. He said that the country had good and adequate storage facilities that could position Nigerian as the hub of the downstream sector in West Africa.

'But there facilities are not being adequately managed. Unfortunately these facilities are under utilised and we think that we can do a lot to ensure that these facilities are fully optimised.

The ripple effects of creating employment, ensuring availability of the product all year round and other things are not being felt,' the lawmaker said. Peterside said that there were many challenges in the downstream sector that government had neglected. He said that it had become a common trend that virtually every facility in the oil and gas sector was providing power for its self.

' The fact is that we cannot industrialise as a nation, what we are doing is not sustainable. So, government must do something about power because the economy depends specifically on power which runs through the entire economy,'' Peterside said. He said that many operators in the downstream were developing their own jetties and dredging ports and advised the Federal Government to intervene decisively.

'Government has to encourage individuals to own jetties through private investment. If we want to run efficient ports and jetties it should be properly regulated so that people who want to come into the sector will know what the rules are and be guided by the regulatory framework,'' he advised. Peterside said that his committee would brief the leadership of National Assembly on its observations and recommendation on the state of the downstream sector.