GOVERNMENT has finally gazetted the Petroleum Bill which is meant to stop petroleum dealers from hiking prices without the authority’s approval.
The bill had been on the cards since last year.
However, the bill does not address th
e supply side of fuel but seeks to regulate the operations of the petroleum market and more importantly the pricing of the scarce commodity.
This is contrary to demands from local industrialists and economists who insist that government should improve the supply first, as regulating the price of the commodity when it is unavailable would further worsen the situation.
The bill aims at barring fuel dealers from hiking fuel prices without the relevant authorities’ approval.
The authority, a quasi-government body, will be called the Petroleum Regulatory Authority (PRA).
There have been more than five fuel price increases since the beginning of the year.
PRA will have a five-member board appointed by the Energy Minister after consultations with the president.
The regulatory authority will be responsible for the licensing of fuel dealers and regulating the retailing, production and procurement of petroleum products.
Production, procurement or selling of the products cannot be done without a license.
The proposed law also gives more control to the Energy Minister, who will be empowered to issue policy directions to the board.