The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said on Thursday that his regime had achieved success in stemming corruption and sharp practices in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Buhari said when he was elected into office in 2015, the industry was in a very dire situation, worsened by a backlog of joint venture cash call arrears, production sharing contract disputes, security challenges and mounting fuel subsidies.
“The industry was in need of reforms to attract more investments and generate the needed revenue to support the nation’s economic growth,” he said at the virtual public presentation of four books by a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu.
The President said the new regime needed to act fast to address the declining prospects of the industry and aggressively drive economic recovery and growth plans.
He noted that Kachikwu was appointed as the group managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Resources in August 2015 and subsequently as minister of state for petroleum resources.
He said, “The current transparency and accountability drive in the NNPC is a good indication of success of our administration’s efforts in stemming corruption and sharp practices in the petroleum industry. The imminent passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill will mark a milestone in our reform efforts.
“Substantial settlement of the backlog of joint venture cash call arrears has been achieved, which has enhanced the investment appetite of our joint venture partners and other prospective investors.”
According to Buhari, his regime is making progress towards the passage of the necessary legislation that will further support the growth of the industry, attract more investments, create jobs for millions of youths and strengthen the Nigerian economy.
He said, “We are committed to monetising our huge gas resources through the National Gas Expansion Programme to support national economic diversification, industrialisation and job creation.
“I am confident that the book, ‘Nigerian Petroleum Industry: 2015 to the future’, written by Dr Kachikwu, will give you an insight into the reform processes and generate interest in both industry and academia.”
In his welcome remarks, Kachikwu said he dedicated the book on the Nigerian petroleum industry to Buhari “because at the time that I served; he was the supervising minister for petroleum.”