By Roseline Okere
THE incoming government of Major General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) should ensure speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), revival of ailing refineries, adoption of zero tolerance on corruption, business friendly electricity tariff and deregulation of the down stream sector of the oil and gas industry.
These were the demand list of stakeholders in the oil industry such as the former President of Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) and the President/Managing Director of Danvic Petroleum International, Dr. Mayowa Afe; President, Nigeria-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Prince Oye Akinsemoyin, and the Executive-Secretary of the Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria (LUPAN), Emeka Obidike.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Afe commended the just concluded 2015 elections, saying that the latest development has already started opening doors for investment in the oil and gas sector.
According to Afe, what has happened has opened up a lot of enthusiasms among foreign partners who are interested in investing in the country’s oil and gas industry. Specifically, he said that he got a phone call this morning (yesterday morning) from one of his company’s foreign partners on the possibility of opening up a discussion that would lead to more investment in the sector.
He said: “We are receiving positive reactions from our foreign partners. I had a very important call this morning on some actions that have been hanged due to uncertainty in the industry.
“There is a lot to do and the new administration should ensure speedy passage of the PIB. Without the PIB, the oil and gas industry will not move forward. The PIB will open up lots of opportunity for investment in the sector. Many projects that have been put on hold due to the non-passage of the PIB would be revisited.
“Deregulation of the down stream sector is also very important, but the PIB will help raise the confidence of investors to invest more in the economy”. He also stressed the need for the incoming administration to address the issue of corruption in the oil and gas industry by resuscitating the nation’s refineries. “The nation’s refineries have suffered from low capacity utilization.
We are talking about corruption in the oil and gas sector and this problem will be solved if the incoming administration is able to make the country to be self-sufficient in petroleum refining”. Speaking also with The Guardian, Akinsemoyin, said that there is need for the incoming government to appoint a Minister of Petroleum Resources that will be able to address the challenges in the nation’s oil and gas sector.
He specifically called for the diversification of the country’s economy to reduce dependence on oil and gas resources. He said the recent crash in crude oil prices, with its dire consequences on the value of the naira, foreign income earnings, and the federal and state budgets were clear pointers to the dangers of operating a mono economy.
According to him, it was high time the government took seriously the constant call for the diversification of the economy by working assiduously towards making the required investments that will boost growth of other non-oil sectors.
He also called for the establishment of Maritime Bank to cater for the oil and gas industry. “I feel this is the time to set up a Maritime Bank for the oil and gas sector. Most of the facilities available in our banks are so unfriendly to the oil and gas sector, therefore the need for a Maritime Bank.
“A lot still need to be done in the are of infrastructure in the power sector. There is the need for the new administration to address the challenge of high tariff. They should consider the consumers in the areas of electricity pricing.
It should be done in a way that I will not put a lots of pressure on the consumers”. Akinsemoyin said that the incoming administration should do a re-assessment of the various sectors of the economy, draw up a four-year plan and adopt workable strategy to reposition the economy for economic growth.
He also wants the incoming government to try as much as possible to avoid policy summersault and adopt zero tolerance on corruption. Corroborating, Obidike specifically called on the present administration to ensure the passage of the PIB before handing over the new administration. He said: “Before the handover date, we pray that the PIB will be passed.
The challenges in the downstream will be addressed by the PIB. If the present administration is able to pass the PIB before May, the incoming government will now have to focus on implementation. There is so much in the PIB document that would accelerate the growth of the downstream sector”. He insisted that the backward integration policy, which has worked so well in other critical sectors of the economy where the nation depends on heavy importation to boost local production and create more jobs like the sector should be replicated in the lubricant sub-sector.
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