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‘FG must prioritise legal framework for the oil sector to attract investments’

The Federal Government has been challenged to prioritise the creation of enabling environment for the oil and gas sector, backed up by a legal framework to grow and attract the right investments into the sector.

Tunji Oyebanji, chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association, said Wednesday at the ongoing Nigerian International Petroleum Summit that the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation must ensure the legal framework for the oil and gas sector was effected to drive efficiency and attract investments into the sector.

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“We don’t want a situation whereby the government influences the regulation of the sector in such a way that they are capping the price of petroleum product, which doesn’t encourage competitive market.

“Such strategy would be difficult for the investors to succeed in the market, even if it is Dangote. The right environment must be there for the sector to thrive.

“The government also needs to come out clear on the deregulation of the sector, or still approaching the sector much more as a social welfare issue or purely an economic issue,” Oyebanji said.

Speaking further, he said Nigeria could become net exporter of petroleum products when local production exceeds demands locally, and with more investments in the mainstream and modular refinery.

“All things being equal, if the Dangote Refinery comes on stream and the NNPC optimised the performance of its refinery through maintenance and the refineries are working; there is the possibility of us having the product to consume locally.

“But just like I said, all these are subject to all things being equal because the key question is, are those refineries going to come alive despite the huge assurances from government?”

Also, Auwal Sarki, managing director, Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR), said the border closure had also revealed the actual figure of petroleum consumption in Nigeria.

The government is embarking on several other initiatives mostly using technology to track movement of petroleum products across the country, he said.

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