Lagos — Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc in partnership with legal firms, Olaniwun Ajayi LP and London-based, White & Case Law LLP have drawn attention to critical factors necessary for the successful implementation of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, FCCPA in the oil and gas industry.
The Act, which is a codified set of rules signed into law in January 2019 established the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal. It was enacted for the promotion of competition in the Nigerian markets at all levels to eliminate monopolies, prohibit abuse of a dominant market position and to penalize other unethical restrictive trade and business practices.
Delivering the opening address in a policy advocacy dialogue organised by Seplat, the company Chief Executive Office, Mr. Austin Avuru, stressed Seplat’s strong regard for compliance and strict adherence to Corporate Governance ethos in the industry.
According to him, Seplat remains very concerned about its current and future business environment in Nigeria and will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to advocate for good laws that will positively impact businesses, especially in the oil and gas industry.
Avuru said: “As an organisation, Seplat is at the forefront of understanding, practicing and advocating proper compliance and corporate governance principles. In these areas, we lead from the front line. We have put together this event to draw attention to the gaps in this Act, with a view to getting stakeholders to accommodate the peculiarities of the oil and gas industry in future reviews of the Act.”
The General Counsel, at Seplat, Dr. Mirian Kachikwu expressed optimism that continuous engagement with relevant stakeholders will not only address grey areas in the FCCPA, but also inform possible amendments as may be relevant for businesses in Nigeria, especially in the oil and gas space.
Speaking on why the event was put together, Kachikwu said: “Seplat organised this policy dialogue to create ample awareness and enlighten key stakeholders in the oil and gas sector about the challenges that the new law could have on the smooth operation of the industry. The goal is to work with the regulator and government to shed light on grey areas.
In his key note address, Babatunde Irukera, Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission noted that: “The oil and gas industry in Nigeria is peculiar in many respects, both in terms of the legal and regulatory framework. The industry is particularly sensitive therefore if players in the industry notify of the need to make changes to a clause in the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to work together to effect the necessary change.”
In the oil and gas industry, the FCCPA provides guidelines on the maximum amount of funds that can be raised by oil and gas companies; how collaborative bidding should be done and other important matters that directly affect the oil and gas industry. In particular, the Act stipulates that the FCCP Commission’s oversight over mergers extends to Joint Ventures, which are critical to the oil and gas sector.
In a presentation facilitated by Kadijah Yusuf and Folashade Oluyadi (both senior associates at Olaniwun Ajayi), Jonathan Aluju, Managing Associate at Olaniwun Ajayi and Marc Israel, Partner White & Case LLP, discussants at the event drew attention to the need to amend sections of the FCCPA which hamper the growth of the oil and gas industry or restrict expansion plans of participants in the industry.
The event brought together dignitaries from the oil and industry, legal community, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and other arms of government. It was attended by Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, President Nigerian Gas Association, NGA,w representatives of companies including Shell Petroleum Exploration and Production Company, Platform Petroleum, Oando, First E&P, Petrobras Nigeria, among others.