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January 18, 2017

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Nigeria’s Double Licensing Dilemma

A turf spat between government agencies has lubricant blenders in Nigeria doing double the paperwork and paying double the fees.

Nigerian lube companies must obtain licenses and pay dues to both the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and the Nigerian Department of Petroleum Resources. Each agency believes blenders fall under its oversight, although blenders believe licensing should only be through the DPR.

Emeka Obidike, executive secretary for the Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria, lamented in a press statement that even when blenders show genuine proof of a Nigerian Department of Petroleum Resources license, officials for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control also insist on seeing a proof of licenses and payment of dues, under threat of confiscation of the blenders’ products.

Obidike argued that the Petroleum Act recognizes DPR as the primary regulator of the petroleum sector. He believes the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control’s refusal to acknowledge the primary regulatory role of DPR amounts to “a blatant disregard and encroachment on the authority and jurisdiction of the DPR.”

Taiye Williams, managing director for Lubcon International Ltd. in Nigeria, said that the problem is caused by the regulators’ lack of knowledge, but noted that it is being resolved. “We are discussing it with them, and at the next meeting we shall have a position,” said Williams.

Emmanuel Ekpenyong, head of lubricants for Hogl Energy Ltd. in Lagos, said the dues are being collected by both the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control and DPR, but noted that the Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria is fighting to stem the tide. “Some blenders have already paid while others have yet to pay,” Ekpenyong added.

However, U. K. Ndanusa, deputy director of downstream for the DPR, said blenders pay for a license to operate in the oil and gas industry, which is within the regulatory purview of the department. “You must have a license to operate as a blender, and you have to pay for it. We don’t know what they mean by ‘multiple dues,’” said Ndanusa.

Christy Obiazokwor, Lagos’ spokesperson for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, emphasized that the agency is empowered by law to regulate chemicals and that is what it does. “We register chemicals, and there is a procedure for it,” said Obiazokwor.

Sections 5 and 30 of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Cap NI Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 empower that agency to regulate and license general chemicals, restricted chemicals and controlled chemicals.

“Except as provided in these regulations, no chemical or chemical product shall be manufactured, imported, exported, stored, advertised, distributed or used unless permit has been granted as appropriate in accordance with the provisions of these regulations. No person shall manufacture, import, export, sell, distribute or use a chemical or chemical products unless it is accompanied by a Material Safety Data Sheet,” states the agency’s law.