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10.06.2005 General News

Deregulation bill goes through second week


Some minority Members of Parliament are asking parliament to maintain the Energy Commission's supervisory role over the petroleum sector.

Debating the National Petroleum Authority bill in the house on Thursday the MP cautioned that bill gives too much power to National Petroleum Authority.

The House is currently working on the bill, which will empower a regulatory body over the oil marketing companies once the deregulation programme takes full effect.

The National Petroleum Authority Bill seeks to among others establish a regulatory body to oversee and monitor activities of oil marketing companies and related service providers as the country fully deregulates the sector.

The authority when established will monitor ceilings on the prices of petroleum products in order to ensure that the interest of both consumers and service providers are protected.

Deputy minister of energy, K.T. Hammond told Parliament that the Authority would form the hub around which the petroleum deregulation would evolve.

The MPs were unanimous in their support of the bill.

They argued that it was necessary to create such a body to ensure that consumers especially are protected from arbitrary price hikes.

Currently the Energy Commission, which has responsibility for the entire energy sector, regulates the petroleum industry.

But this will change once the National Petroleum Authority is established. Some minority MPs are not happy about this.

Under the deregulation programme oil marketing companies will bid to import oil into the country.

The parliamentarians say care must be taken to protect the interest of locally based oil marketing firms.

But Mr. K.T. Hammond, rounding up the debate says the concerns of the MPs have been catered for.

The National Petroleum Authority bill also seeks to establish a Unified Petroleum Price Fund to compensate oil-marketing companies for the differences in transporting petroleum products to all parts of the country.

This will ensure that the product is sold at the same price nationwide.

The bill is expected to go through the consideration stage tomorrow where amendments to the document will be allowed.