24 April 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Engineer Funsho Kupolokun, Monday, lamented, that 25 years after the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry was first muted, the country was yet to make a concrete decision in that regard.
Speaking at the 11th Annual International Conference of the Nigerian Association for Energy Economics, NAEE in Abuja, Kupolokun disclosed that unless the country undertake a deregulation of the sector, it would continue to grapple with the problems that had consistently bedeviled the industry.
He said, “We have been talking about deregulation since 1993. It went up and down with fuel price moving up and down.
The resultant effect is that if we have continued moving gradually that way, we would have finished the liberalization of the downstream sector. But we reversed ourselves and today, we are in a scenario where we are still talking about deregulation. How many years, some 25 solid years we have been talking of deregulating the downstream sector, yet, it is still undone.
“I just hope we do it and do it rapidly, because unless and until it is done, we would continue to have the problems that we are having in the downstream petroleum sector.”
He further emphasized the need to ensure that Nigeria shift from rent-seeking to value creation, stating that it is very critical to the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
He said, “We have to move from where we are now, which is rent-seeking, and think of how we can begin to create value. Unless and until we do that, I am not sure we are getting it right.”
He also noted that issues surrounding transparency should be address in the petroleum industry, while he condemned lip service paid to the issue.
“Everybody is talking about transparency in the petroleum industry. Everybody is talking about it, what is happening is that we are still not doing it. We keep talking about it. In 1999 when I came back into the government system, it was a key issue; a number of bodies were set up by the government; yet today, we are still talking about it,” he lamented.