Nigerian Proposal Targets Substandard Lubes

Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council is considering adopting a policy that would crack down on sales of substandard lubes through a partnership between regulatory agencies, security operatives and local lubricant market stakeholders.

The council consists of President Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet members. No deadline has been set for ratification.

“The approval of the Nigerian lubricant policy would empower us to arrest, detain and confiscate products of promoters of substandard lubes on the Nigerian lubricant market,” Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria Executive Secretary Emeka Obidike said in a phone interview, alluding to long-running efforts by government and industry to root out poor quality and counterfeit lubricants. “This time it is a total war on substandard lubes, and we are in partnership with government regulatory agencies, security operatives and stakeholders.”

The proposed policy’s stated objectives include “reduction of the sale of substandard lubricants and counterfeit lubricants which do not meet the requirements of current engines and machinery.” It calls later for the elimination of substandard lubricant and setting limits on importation of finished lubricants in the country by 2024. One way the policy would attempt to achieve the latter objective would be to increase the tariff on imported finished lubricants from 30 percent to 50 percent of estimated value. Obidike contended that a country such as Nigeria, with 52 licensed blending plants and overcapacity of production, should have no business importing finished lubes.

Taiye Williams, managing director of Lubcon International Nigeria, said the policy will encourage Nigerians to invest more in raw materials required for the production of lubricants. “When we produce base oils locally, the particulars of that oil are known and hence, it can be regulated locally,” Williams added. Currently Nigeria has no domestic base oil plants.

Emmanuel Ekpenyong, a downstream oil and gas industry executive in Lagos, Nigeria, said the policy will accomplish nothing unless it is effectively implemented. “The best of policies amounts to nothing if the willpower to implement it is absent. And the government is at the center of it all,” Ekpenyong told Lube Report.