Democracy Day: IPMAN, LCCI call for holistic transformation of petroleum, power sectors

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As Nigeria celebrates the June 12 Democracy Day, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) yesterday called on the federal government to do its utmost to transform the oil and gas sector with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as well as adopt more holistic approach to address power sector challenges.

Speaking in an interview with NAN in Lagos, the president of IPMAN, Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo, said the PIB which is now before the national assembly holds the key to petroleum sector.

“IPMAN has confidence that this administration can transform the oil and gas sector with the successful passage of the PIB which is currently before the national assembly.

“The government has been showing vigour in pushing for its passage and we as industry stakeholders believe that there should be no further delay in its passage in the interest of national development,” he said.

He reasoned that the PIB would transform the sector by providing the needed legislative framework and a sense of direction for oil and gas sector operations.

“It will attract investments to upstream, midstream and downstream sectors, liberalise the market and create job opportunities for Nigerians,” he added.

Okoronkwo also expressed satisfaction with the supply of petroleum products.

For his part, the director general of LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf called for a more holistic approach to the challenges of the power sector.

He noted that the power sector reform had not delivered the desired outcomes.

Yusuf said the entire experience had given privatisation a bad name.

“There were issues of due diligence, technical capacity, financial capacity, political interference, metering issues, commercial losses, technical losses, tariff rigidities and the economics of the private sector investment in the sector.

“There are diverse internal and external factors impeding the achievement of the desired outcomes of the power sector reform.

“Meanwhile, it is important to have a more holistic approach to the issue of power. There should be greater emphasis on off grid solutions in order to ensure the decentralisation of the power sector.

“The current model of high dependence on the national grid has not worked well to serve the economy. The country is too vast for the highly centralised regime of national grid,” he said.

According to him, it is also important to ensure the rapid promotion of renewable energy solutions through the enactment of policies that will make it more affordable.

The director general noted that the current high cost of acquiring renewable energy equipment and accessories was a major impediment to solutions to the challenges of the energy sector.

He said, for instance, the cost of solar panels and batteries were very prohibitive.

“I submit that import duty and taxes on solar equipment, solar batteries and inverters should be scrapped to improve access to renewable energy solutions.

“The implementation of the energy mix programme of the government needs to be accelerated,” Yusuf said.

Nevertheless, Yusuf commended the federal government’s deal with Siemens which aims to scale power supply capacity to 25,000 megawatts by 2025.

He said the move was a welcome development that would improve the performance of the power sector.

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