PIB: Group advocates strong regulatory framework to reduce corruption in oil sector

*The oil and gas industry’s operations have been opaque as it requires self-regulation by stakeholders even when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) becomes operational, says Adetunji Oyebanji, Chairman of MOMAN

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In view of the country’s National Assembly’s effort at re-examining the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has said that ongoing moves at deregulating the oil and gas sector of the country’s economy will considerably reduce corruption in the industry.

Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, Chairman of MOMAN, at a recent webinar series organised by the virtual Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Expo 2020, stated that historically, the industry’s operations had been opaque, as he urged self-regulation by stakeholders even when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) becomes operational, ThisDay report said.

The Association also advocated a strong regulatory framework which promptly sanctions defaulters, including those who breach anti-competition and anti-trust laws, by saying cases of sleaze will always arise when monitoring and compliance is not taken seriously.

Oyebanji said: “Under a regulated environment, maybe there’s only one person supplying, then you find that someone is sitting somewhere and allocating products to everybody.

“Apart from smuggling, this corruption is part of the reasons we have long advocated deregulation of the industry.

“Self-regulation is the best form of regulation and fills the gap in the industry’s non-adherence to international standards and best practices aimed at ensuring safety in the sector and building self-confidence and trust in the industry.

“So, over and beyond what is prescribed by the PIB, players themselves should regulate themselves.

“There has to be a charter, setting the dos and don’ts for operators and members in terms of HSE, corporate governance, excellence in service and penalties for erring embers who do not adhere to these guidelines.”

In connection with monitoring by the regulators, the Chairman noted contended that “there must be periodic visits to terminals, retail outlets and other facilities to assess standards of operations and safety.

“There should be periodic testing of products to ensure adherence with agreed specifications as we move to this fully legislative regulatory environment that we are going into.”

Adetunji further stated: “The regulator in the new PIB in the downstream, a lot of what they should be doing is collaboration and consulting with the industry to ensure that the rules set for the industry are apt and appropriate and they have a buy-in and input of all stakeholders.

“A lot of what they should be doing is intervening if anti-competition and anti-trust rules are broken by the industry.”

He noted that the oil and gas industry must now begin to take the complaints of Nigerian consumers very seriously because many of the issues would not arise if there was self-censorship.

“People do not understand how prices are arrived at and this is a product that they really do not have any choice but to buy.

“I am never very happy because the complaint is that the prices go up too quickly and when they are supposed to go down, they don’t go down fast enough,” said he.

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