The Department of Petroleum Resources has opposed calls by some stakeholders that its functions should be streamlined in order to make the agency more effective and efficient.
The stakeholders, who comprised officials from civil society organisations and various government agencies, stated this in a report that captured the findings of an assessment of the environmental framework in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, especially with respect to the Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria.
In its reaction to the views expressed by the stakeholders, the DPR said it was not true that it was not effective and efficient in the discharge of its duties.
It said, “The government of Nigeria has not been defrauded of revenues due to it because the DPR ensures payment by small, big and intermediate companies, both local and multinational.
“Nigeria meets its export quota to the extent that is humanly manageable despite the socioeconomic and security challenges facing the country. No project in the industry comes on stream except after the DPR has ensured environmental due diligence.
“Interestingly, most companies complain that the DPR EIA process is more stringent than what’s obtainable at the Federal Ministry of Environment. That is a deliberate effort by the DPR, because it has access to vital information that is not obtainable elsewhere in the entire country.”
The DPR said through stringent and strategic operations monitoring and regulation, it had been able to keep hazardous incidents very low while also not relenting on research into new frontiers.
The regulator said it had consciously provided a level playing field for indigenous investors to compete with multinationals, adding, “We also continue to consciously tolerate our local environmental consultants while continuously building their currently low capacity.”
It said, “Unknown to the advocates of streamlining, if the environment (or health, safety and environment) function should leave the DPR to another ministry, the sustainable development balance would be completely distorted. No other agency of government can successfully do that SD function because it is either such an agency has only one leg of the SD balance or the other, but never the three combined as the DPR has.
“So, what the groups have tagged as an aberration and error of the National Assembly and the Executive is actually a deliberate, strategic and informed decision to have a capable agency carry out that critical role using the three inseparable legs.”