Importance of full deregulation in a post- PIB (Petroleum Industry Bill) economy

The most topical issue in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, ‘arguably the most vibrant in Africa’ right now is the Petroleum Industry Bill,(PIB) and the only reason it would come before full deregulation of the downstream oil sector is simply because it has being programmed to encapsulate the subject matter.

The PIB has since been approved by the federal Executive Council and has been forwarded to the National Assembly for proper scrutiny and ratification after which full implementation is expected. This report however takes a look at the prospects of a full downstream sector deregulation after the passage of the bill as well as its importance especially in the face of in-depth corruption currently ravaging the downstream oil sector by virtue of the Petroleum Subsidy Fund (PSF).

On January 1,2012 the Goodluck Jonathan led federal Government announced a shocking and unexpected stoppage to the Petroleum Subsidy Fund,(PSF) thereby signaling an immediate sharp increase in petrol pump prices across the country.

This action could be so described because the federal government seemed to have allowed an atmosphere for dialogue with the people as governments selected representatives made up specifically of the economic team and a few other notable individuals met with the peoples unelected representative consisting of the civil society groups, human rights activists and the media to discuss the all-knotty issue of subsidy removal/deregulation.

However the government’s action was sudden as it was generally presumed that dialogue on the matter was still ongoing, but the of that action is all history now. The action of  government was to signal moves towards deregulation of the downstream sector, but analysts were of the opinion that deregulation cannot achieve its aim when implemented in piecemeal and as such the removal of  fuel subsidy alone cannot address the issues and should have come at the tail end of the deregulation exercise.




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