Story by Ikenna Omeje
The Nigerian Association of Liquified Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) has disassociate itself from the position of the Nigerian Liquified Petroleum Gas Association (NLPGA) on the recent clamp down and subsequent suspension of LPG add-on in retail outlets across the country by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
DPR in recent weeks had suspended some LPG retail outlets on the ground of indiscriminate deployment of LPG add-on in retail outlets across the states of the federation, to which NLPGA had frowned at in a letter to the DPR, querying the regulatory agency for what it is doing.
In a statement issued by the Executive Secretary of NALPGAM, Mr. Bassey Essien, he noted that although NALPGAM is an integral part of NLPGA, NLPGA does not have the mandate to write to DPR without consulting stakeholders across the value chain, describing the content of the “purported” letter to the DPR as “self-serving.”
Essien averred that NLPGAM having operated under different dispensations in the supply and distribution of LPG in the country, can acknowledge the incremental growth being witness in the market currently and will continue to embrace innovation to further deepen the market.
Noting the peculiarity of LPG, he said that it cannot be compared with other Petroleum products and therefore, industry players have to follow the DPR guidelines regimentally.
Essien urged the DPR and other relevant agencies that have the statutory responsibilities to ensure compliance, to do their job without cowing to the intimidation from the people he described as “self-serving operators” adding that it is in NLPGAM’s commitment to safe industry that it made it a constitutional requirement for prospective members to have valid operating licence from the DPR before joining the association.
The statement read in part: “Although, NALPGAM remains an integral part of the NLPGA, the leadership of NLPGA as being currently constituted has no valid mandate to put forward a letter to the operator without any form of consultation within and among stakeholders across the value chain. In our opinion, the content of the purported NLPGA letter to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is not only self-serving, but equally unpatriotic considering the insignificant value placed on the lives of innocent Nigerians vis-a-vis the safety concerns consistently expressed over the reckless installation of LPG SKID/ADD-ON in locations that are neither suitable nor approved for such deployments.
“As an association that has witnessed, operated and journeyed through different dispensations in the supply and distribution of LPG (Cooking Gas) in Nigeria; we acknowledge the rapid growth being experienced today and as well embrace innovations that will further deepen the market and increase consumption without necessarily constituting a threat to the lives and properties of all Nigerians.
“Consequently, we are mindful of the peculiar nature of LPG which cannot be compared with other Petroleum Products; hence the need to adhere to all necessary precautions as prescribed by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) through the outlined requirement and guidelines towards the safe distribution, utilisation and consumption of LPG.
“More importantly, we encourage the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other relevant agencies saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring compliance to set rules, regulations, and continue to facilitate the formulation of policies that will ensure industry compliance with global best practices while also discharging its statutory responsibilities without yielding to any form of antics being presently exhibited by desperate businessmen through blackmail or yielding to intimidation and harassment from sel-serving operators.
“It is in demonstration of our genuine and age long commitment to safe industry practices and compliance with ALL statutory requirements/guidelines that our association’s membership enrollment is such that possession of VALID OPERATING LICENCE issued by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is a MUST to be admitted into our fold; this is to ensure that core adherence to the statutory requirements and guidelines are not circumvented.
“Furthermore, let all self-serving operators and “investors” making vague reference to the approved National Gas Policy be reminded that the policy as approved in the pursuit of LPG accessibility, availability, affordability and employment generation has not in any way stripped the (DPR) of its statutory powers/responsibilities.
“Conclusively, NALPGAM is using this medium to further appeal to all state governments across the federation to ensure that only suitable land are approved for the citing of LPG facilities under whatever nomenclature.”