• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Lawmakers lack oversight powers over private companies, downstream operators say

Reps ask FG to auction of police barracks over poor maintenance

Lawmakers are acting illegally when they summon executives of private companies in so-called oversight functions that disrupt their business operations, waste their time and clog up their schedules, some operators of the oil downstream sector have said at a conference in Lagos.

The annual Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Week, is an initiative dedicated to discussing business, policy, and issues in the downstream petroleum markets across the continent. The 2022 edition started on Monday with a panel session on regulating the sector in a dynamic time but operators soon began lamenting wasted time spent attending to lawmaker summons.

“It is time, we educate the lawmakers that this action is illegal,” says Dakuku Peterside a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.

He said it was illegal in Nigeria for firms to engage lobbyists for the national assembly but encouraged firms to look to hiring government affairs consultants who can shuttle between Abuja and Lagos to consider senate summons why executives focus on running companies.

Citing national assembly rules, Peterside, a former member of the Nigerian House of Representatives said the national assembly had powers only to summon the regulator who should then appear and provide an explanation for the actions of the companies it was regulating.

Billy Okoye, a former general manager of NNPC who was a member of the audience harped on the loss of time and productivity by executives who spend valuable time answering summons and said this was becoming a thorny issue in the sector.

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Farouk Ahmed, CEO of, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority said these issues among others were a concern in the sector and it is working to address the lapses.

However, the sector is experiencing significant changes that require urgent action especially as energy transition becomes a big issue.

“We are currently experiencing major developments in energy supply globally, with discussions on energy demand rapidly evolving and rallying around the need for energy supply to be guaranteed through cleaner and more sustainable sources.

“These discussions have metamorphosed into a compelling strategic case which has emplaced another Energy Transition in this century.

Ahmed said that in light of the current realities all stakeholders in the energy sector, and more specifically the downstream must ensure that the sector is properly positioned for enhanced performance during these rapidly changing times.

“This would entail the optimization of technology; petroleum product quality upgrade; regional markets integration; HSEC

assurance; human capital development; and strong regulatory enablement,” he said.