Story by Kayode Augustine
Oil marketers on Wednesday urged the newly appointed Minster of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipire Sylva, to push for the passage of the Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB) in order to put the industry on a sound footing.
The marketers, under the aegis of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), made the call in Lagos.
Mr. Adetunji Oyebanji, Chairman of MOMAN, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Sylva, a former Bayelsa governor, to the position.
Oyebanji urged Sylva to foster industrial peace in the sector and focus on refining crude directly or through collaboration with private entities.
He said: “We believe he should build on the foundation already laid and push for the passage of the PIGB and also develop a plan for the deregulation of the downstream sector.
“We urge the minister to put in place an enabling environment for massive investment in the upstream to increase production and reserves and close collaboration with private sector to take the industry higher.
“We congratulate and welcome him to the new job. We wish him a successful tenure and God’s guidance based on his vast experience.
“The little I know of him suggests he is a very calm, deep, intelligent and cerebral person. We urge him to have good relationship with the unions.”
Oyebanji, who is also the Managing Director, 11Plc, said Sylva’s excellent international connections following his wide experience as former executive governor of an oil producing state was also an asset.
“We look forward to him to further stabilising the upstream sector and getting competitive terms in place to ensure investment continues to flow into the sector,” he added.
Also, Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo, National President of IPMAN, urged the minister and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) management to build on the structure of the NNPC to make it competitive globally and give targets to all subsidiaries.
Okoronkwo advised Sylva to put in place performance benchmarks and fix all refineries to ensure that they work at optimal level, “even if it means using expatriates in the interim’’.
He, however, lauded the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in selecting an experienced professional that could effectively institute the right reform urgently needed in the industry.
According to him, the new minister has the task of revamping the industry and repositioning the sector to meet international standard.
He expressed optimism that Sylva would bring his vast experience acquired over the years in both private and public sectors of the oil industry to bear on this new assignment as minster.
Okoronkwo, however, urged the minister to prove his competency by justifying the confidence reposed in him.
Similarly, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) commended Buhari over Sylva’s appointment.
Mr Olufemi Adewole, Executive Secretary of the association, in a statement, said DAPPMAN would continue to support the government and work with the new minister to churn out policies that would be beneficial to the nation’s economy.
He said: “We will support him in the efforts to lift the petroleum downstream sector to greater heights. We wish him God’s guidance at all times and a successful tenure.”