Nigeria Pipeline privatization decision receiving mixed response

The decision of the Federal Government to privatize the petroleum products pipeline network of the nation is receiving mixed reactions.

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The decision of the Federal Government to privatize the petroleum products pipeline network of the nation is receiving mixed reactions.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, announced this decision of the government on December 1, 2015. He added that this decision is taken to minimize the issue of perennial vandalism and ensure availability of products in the country next year.

While operators applaud the decision as a wise move, labour on the other hand thinks it is anti-people.

The Executive Vice-Chairman, Techno Oil Limited, Mrs. Nkechi Obi, told Vanguard that it is welcome development as pipelines privatization will curtail the incessant vandalism being experienced in the industry.

I welcome the idea; I support it. It is a good initiative because it is a challenge that has hindered distribution of petroleum products. So many things are involved though. The integrity of the pipelines is a big challenge. The private sector can invest in the pipeline networks. It is something that should be done now; it is a way to go."

She also said that the private people will take care of the vandalism and they will better provide the infrastructure needed as well.

If the pipelines are privatised, vandalism will be minimal. The new owners will look into the problems associated with vandalism and tackle them drastically,” she said.

The Chairman/CEO, Brittania-U Nigeria Limited, an indigenous exploration and production company, Mrs Uju Ifejika, said the policy should be fully supported. She advised the government to take up the governance related matters leaving business to the private players.

Government should face governance and leave business for the private sector. Overtime, it has shown that government cannot manage the pipelines. They should be given out to people who will pay through put. As regards vandalism, the new owners will put in place everything that will help to protect the pipelines. They will use sensors which government has not been able to use” she said.

On the other hand, Achese Igwe, President, Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers believes that it is anti-people.

According to him, “If this is the kind of change this administration is intending to bring in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, then the nation is down for the worst. I thought he will be talking about privatising the security of the pipelines. We (NUPENG) will be waiting for that time to come. However, we will not afford to fold our arms to watch.

The privatization decision is deemed to be correct for now. But, the big challenge lies in formulating the regulations to the private players. The Government cannot afford capitalistic domination in order to prevent vandalism.

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