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Opinions of Friday, 9 July 2021

Columnist: Ohima Agans-Oliha

Re: Petroleum Industry Bill and quest for a New Nigeria

Members of the House of Representatives during plenary Members of the House of Representatives during plenary

In response to another wonderfully and concisely-written article by Dr. Obadiah Mailafia on the back page of The PUNCH, Monday, July 5, I think we should also meditate on how the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation will transform itself with the oncoming deregulation of the industry, and after announcing its latest “de-risk” jeopardy; and plans to borrow almost $4 billon for an equity position in Dangote refinery, and the potential conflict of interests, its plan poses for the regulatory body and itself, and also the potential rapid depreciation of it’s planned equity share, as car manufacturers, whose products represent the vast consumers of fossil fuel, switch to different fuel sources.

It appears to be an irrecoverable sunk cost (“lost fund”) that the citizens will end up re-paying.

Perhaps, it’s better if the NNPC aims to improve its capacity, and compete with the private providers, and further establish its dominance. It’s still rather difficult to predict if in-fact the global industry will continue to favour petroleum, and of course, the delays of the bill’s passage may even leave the petroleum industry bereft of participants, as they all contemplate their future survival, as the world gradually transforms to an environment free of petroleum-powered cars and transportation.

As France’s President, Emmanuel Macron, soundly emphasised, “there’s no planet B”. Everyone must ultimately fall on-board with the world’s forward environmental dictum.