By Omar Bah
The Ministry of Petroleum & Energy Tuesday concluded the validation of the draft Petroleum Products (Downstream) regulations act at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
According to officials of the ministry, the regulations act which is the first since pre-independence will provide guidelines on how the sector should operate and as well regulate its importation requirements, transportation and downstream marketing.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Petroleum & Energy Fafa Sanyang, said his ministry will continue to sharpen the management instrument of the sector through legislative and policy updates with a view to support the growth of the sector and promote local participation.
He said the regulations are necessitated given the fact that petroleum operations are dynamic and requires reviewing of policies and regulatory tools in line with modern practices.
“The ministry will ensure that all aspects of the petroleum product supply chains are regulated, ranging from importation, consumption, quality and pricing wise. When we say regulated, we don’t mean control, but to provide certainty and a level playing field as well as safety,” he said.
He said despite all the challenges over the years, the well established old marketing companies among others, who were concern about their reputations, “take it upon themselves to regulate the industry by applying basic good industrial practices.”
“However, with the coming of indigenous local operators with minimal structures, and less experiences, it is becoming more and more imperative to have guidelines and regulations to place certainty in the sector,” he said.
Adding: “hence an urgent need for a robust and harmonize regime.”
He said the new government intends to reverse all that, “with these sets of regulation to create a level playing field.”
The PS Ministry of Petroleum & Energy Mod K. Ceesay, said the petroleum sector is at a cross-road emerging from the syndrome of state captured monopoly of activities in the sector.
He said the ministry intents to reverse all that, and therefore embark upon reforming the sector starting with the reorganization of the public institutions and enforcing the Petroleum Act 2016.
The PURA director general in a statement read on his behalf by one Babucarr, a staffer, said the Act has given PURA the mandate to regulate the downstream petroleum sector.
He said the petroleum sector has over the years remained largely unregulated, “and I believe all of you will agree with me that there is a precious need for this sector to be regulated in the public interest.”
“The mandate to regulate this sector allows both stakeholders and PURA the opportunity to solve pending issues in the sector, including increasing competition, protecting consumers as well as ensuring that standards are maintained for public safety,” he said