The Independent Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) on Friday lauded the performance of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the petroleum sector.
The oil marketers made the commendation in an interview with newsmen in Lagos while appraising the performance of Buhari as the president marks his fifth year in office.
IPMAN’s President, Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, told NAN that the president had performed well as far as the oil and gas sector was concerned.
Okoronkwo said: “I think the sector has enjoyed relative stability under this government, especially in the area of supply and availability of petroleum products across the country.
”The government has also helped in restoring sanity to the distribution process by curbing smuggling of fuel outside the country.
“Even during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the government has been working with oil marketers and depots to ensure that Nigerians continue to enjoy stable supply of products.”
He said the removal of fuel subsidy by the government would open up the sector for more investors to come into the downstream sector.
“I think people can now begin to think of refining products locally through setting up of modular refineries.
”By so doing, the pressure on foreign exchange will reduce while job opportunities will be created for Nigerians.
“So, I think the performance so far has been very good, especially in our sector, ” Okoronkwo added.
Also speaking, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, Chairman of MOMAN, said the president had tried his best to stabilise the sector inspite of the myriads of challenges.
Oyebanji said: “I will say the government has done well because for instance, Buhari administration inherited all these subsidy debts and even though they did not pay cash, they made an effort to clear the debts.
”They listen to us and we give inputs to various policies but the main issue is that government needs to play more of a monitoring role in the sector going forward rather than being an active player and at the same time a regulator.”
He explained that a fresh direction was needed by the government in the energy industry to make it wholly private sector-driven.
“I think the challenge is the fear that if you leave the private sector they will do things to the extreme but what we need to do is to put in place appropriate structures to monitor what is happening.
”Those agencies too should be populated with people who have private sector background and understanding of the peculiarities of the sector,” he said.