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Two key stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have called for total deregulation of the petroleum downstream. The executive secretary of MOMAN, Obafemi Olawore, emphasised the need for federal government to consider total deregulation of downstream oil sector, just as the national president of IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, said his association is set to commence work on its proposed $3 billion (N1.08 trillion) refineries to be sited in two states of the federation. Proffering solutions to the persistent fuel crisis that hit the nation in recent time, Olawore said only total deregulation would save the situation. Contending that doing so will help attract more investments to the oil sector, he said only deregulation would encourage the establishment of private refineries in the country. He explained that when the sector is fully deregulated more investors will come and invest in refineries, transportation and depots that will address the lingering fuel scarcity as well as boost government’s revenues. Speaking further on how deregulation of the sector will impact on other aspect of the nation’s economy, he said, “Deregulation will also enable the Nigeria Railway Corporation to lift more products from the South to other parts of the country at cheaper rates. “The railway system is faster, cheaper and will deliver more volume at a go than road transportation. This will also attract more revenue to the corporation and also expand their infrastructure’’. He stated that when investors invest and build more refineries, depots price of petroleum price would drop and this will be to the advantage of the common man. Noting that deregulation would also address frequent shortages of products, he said, “When the sector is fully deregulated, marketers will source for foreign exchange at cheapest rate to import in products, not depending on government. “The duty of deregulation is that the market will determine whether lazy marketers would stay or quit the system. If government refineries are not working well now, under full deregulation, they will be privatised or key into the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) arrangement”. On his part, the National President of IPMAN said with the leadership crisis that rocked the association now settled, the association will soon commence operation on the 200,000 barrels of petrol per day capacity refineries at Itobe in Kogi State and Abbe in Bayelsa State. According to him, the leadership of the association has commenced discussion with investors and technical partners on how the project could commence forthwith, noting that the association remained committed to the project. He said, “Our $3 billion refinery project would soon commence as we are discussing with our investors and technical partners. The project which was situated in Kogi and Bayelsa ought to have commenced but was deterred by the leadership tussle rocking the association but now that it has been resolved, I am pleased to inform the public that we will soon commence work. “We are pursuing it very strongly because we believe in the success of the refinery. We bought 1,000 hectares of land in Kogi and Bayelsa, the states have been given approvals. Once government approvals and consent have been given, we are ready to move to the site and commence production.” Okoronkwo said that foreign investors have already conducted feasibility studies on the project in order to commence full operation, even as he pointed out that IPMAN’s aim is to contribute its quota as a stakeholder in the project to reduce the level of capital flight by that characterised the oil and gas sector. “The cost of exporting crude oil and bringing back refined products will be reduced. We want government to give us the necessary licences and ensure an enabling environment to operate.’’ Okoronkwo urged the federal government to invest more in modular refineries as a way to end fuel scarcity. FG Not Paying Fuel Subsidy – Adeosun Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said yesterday that instead of paying subsidy to keep fuel price at N145, the federal government is suffering from under-recovery. She recalled that the landing cost of petrol is N171 and the NNPC, which has been the sole importer of fuel since October last year had suffered huge losses, which also led to the fuel scarcity being experienced in the country for more than two months now. Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday after The Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, the minister said Nigerians have been bearing the burden of revenue loss from the NNPC. She said, “On the question of subsidy, the price of oil for Nigeria today is a double-edge sword. So, for every dollar that goes up we get more revenue but also because we are importing refined petroleum, we pay more for increases in cost of landing fuel. “So, for every time we get excited that the oil price is going up, there is also a knock on effect on the price of imported PMS and that is a function of us not having refining capacity. It is one of the unfortunate impact of that”.