By Yemis Izuora-Lagos
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCC1) has expressed deep concern over delay and the possibility of the 7th Assembly not passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before winding up, just as it observed that performance of the power sector in 2014 was significantly poor.
The Chamber, observed that absence of industry legal framework remained greatest encumbrance for the industry adding that it is difficult to say when the bill will finally passed by the National Assembly.
LCCI President,Alhaji Remi Bello who made this observation however noted that the increasing divestment of International Oil Companies (IOC’s) from onshore to offshore has created large pool of indigenous players and that marginal fields and operators are also expanding.
According to Bello, For instance, estimated 300,000bpd worth of equity in on-shore was divested from by the IOCs by the end of 2014 and over 22 oil blocs are involved.
Shell, which is the leading IOC in the new wave of divestments is at the moment concluding divestment from OML18, 29, 25 and 24. This is creating new opportunities for indigenous players in the oil and gas industry’’.
The president also dismissed performance rating claim of the power sector by government.
He said the nation’s power sector operated beyond expectation in 2014 insisting that there was an evident of deterioration of public power supply last year.
Bello,noted that electricity supply dropped by an average of 30 percent in most industrial parts and households in the last six months of 2014.
He further said that despite the progress made so far on the power sector reform particularly on the privatization of the sector, the power situation continued to pose severe challenges to business operators.
According to him,there were complaints across all sectors about high energy costs especially high expenditure on diesel during the year,stressing that this continues to take its toll on the bottom line of investors in the economy.
He advocated the need for National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to urgently address the growing concerns over the outrageous bills to consumers, much of which are not consistent with the earlier advertised billing template.
He said:’’ In 2014, most firms especially the SMEs expressed concern over increasing their electricity bill.
Most SMEs spend as much as 10 percent of their monthly turnover on payment for public power supply alone. Often, these firms never get the power supply they are compelled to pay for.
Again, we reiterate our position that the policy of fixed charge by electricity firms should be reviewed as it is unfair to power consumers’’.