FastTrack domestic refining capacity to end unstable petrol pricing – LCCI DG

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says accelerated domestic refining and processing of petroleum products would end the unstable petroleum pricing in the country, Dr Muda Yusuf, Director-General of the Chamber, said  in an interview with our Correspondent at the weekend in Lagos.

He explained that this action was necessary to prevent both the deregulation policy from being derailed and a return to a subsidy regime fraught with corrupt practices.

Yusuf also called for a competitive market framework to enable the deregulation achieve positive impact, saying that  quick approval of domestic refinery  operations would boost access to petroleum products for economic development.

The LCCI DG blamed NNPC’s monopolistic supply structure  for the inability of Nigerians and the economy to benefit from the positives of deregulation.

Yusuf stressed that government needs to urgently put appropriate structures in place to ensure a level playing field and for the deregulation regime to achieve its objectives, because private sector players were strapped for foreign exchange to import petroleum products, while the refineries remained comatose.

“A deregulated pricing regime is typically volatile, oscillating with global oil price. However, deregulation without competition would not give desired outcomes”, Yusuf said, adding, ”We are still immersed in a monopolistic structure even as we claim to have deregulated the petroleum downstream sector”.

The LCCI DG said that to cushion the effects of petrol price increases on domestic prices, there was also an urgent need to scale up investment in mass transit transportation systems.

Similarly, Yusuf added: “The power sector recovery programme should also be accelerated to reduce the dependence of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) on petrol powered electricity generators.

“These two areas of intervention would reduce the adverse impact of petrol price volatility on small businesses and impact on the welfare of the citizens.