The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has said that deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry remained the best option to move the economy forward.

The Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Mr Obafemi Olawore, made the assertion in Lagos yesterday.

Olawore said that deregulation would bring in investments into the sector, adding that only deregulation would encourage the establishment of private refineries in the country.

According to him, the Federal Government should summon the courage to fully deregulate and remove subsidy or embark on continuous subsidy regime payment as at when due.

“If government likes, they can introduce gradual removal of subsidy but it should not go beyond 6 to 18 months period.

“If fully deregulated with rules, you will have the serious investors coming in to invest adequately,” Olawore said.

According to him, deregulation is the answer and the government must talk to the people and let them understand the advantages.

“The government must also show that in the areas where there have deregulation, people are gaining and that whatever comes in as funds will be used for the benefit of the people.

“People should know that the subsidy refund is not dash money. It is what you have paid for and somebody is paying you back because you have been told to sell below the market price.

“We were hoping that we will be paid back on time but the refund is delayed infinitely. Banks are on us demanding for their money and interest,” he said.

The executive secretary also said that the foreign exchange element affected the business.

“When you buy a product at 160 to 1 dollar, for instance, and you don’t get the money until the exchange rate has been raised to 240, it means that you incur a huge loss. Who bears that?”