By Business a.m. Staff
Consideration for acceleration of foreign direct investment into Nigeria is a strong basis for the federal government of Nigeria to work with the country’s legislature and other stakeholders to pass a long awaited legislation for the petroleum industry, says Mele Kyari, group managing
director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The legislation, popularly captured as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), has been in the legislature for at least a decade and once considered unwieldy, was broken into smaller chunks for passage but
still faced serious disagreements resulting from lack of a political will to act.
Many believe that the PIB if it ever gets passed represents a game changer for the industry especially because of its pursuit of transparency and removing the opacity which surrounds its operations and management in Nigeria.
Kyari, while making a presentation at the 25th anniversary edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) with the theme: ‘Rethinking the Future of Extractives’ committed to working to ensure the passage of legislation with focus on the oil and gas industry.
In a statement issued by Samson Makoji, NNPC’s acting group general manager, group public affairs division, Kyari is quoted to have explained that for Nigeria to make the most of the oil and gas industry, passage of the petroleum legislation was imperative as the bill has the prospect to guarantee a robust fiscal regime, protect the environment, ensure development of host communities, ensure proper alignment with other sectors and encourage investors to expand their investments in Nigeria.
“Getting the petroleum legislation passed is the right thing to do because investors will not invest their money if they are not sure of how they are going to get their investment back and what benefits can they get from their investment and how stable the investment climate is.
We must resolve the petroleum legislation and am aware that this administration is working assiduously to get the law passed within the shortest frame of time,” Kyari is further quotes to have assured.
According to Makoji, Kyari stated that the petroleum law, when passed, would create a robust fiscal regime that would make the oil and gas industry competitive, even as he expressed optimism that International Oil Companies (IOCs) in the country would be spurred to invest more in the petroleum sector after the passage of the bill.
Kyari assured that before the petroleum legislation is passed, a lot of fora would be organised to harvest inputs from relevant stakeholders, saying that the proposed law would be aligned to best practices and it would be a win-win for all, the statement noted.
The oil and gas industry was the enabler of the economy and revenues from the industry largely fund the nation’s budget, Kyari is further quoted as saying, and he added that the NNPC was committed to the expansion of the oil and gas infrastructure corridors to increase the revenue streams available to the government.
NNPC was deploying several commercial solutions to leap frog the nation’s economy, Kyari also said, and stressed that the goal was to create multifaceted job opportunities for Nigerians.
He assured that the NNPC was working round the clock to ensure energy security for the nation, revealing that the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano pipeline, dubbed the AKK, would be delivered to promote the growth of petrochemical companies in the country.
He also assured that the domestic gas obligation would be delivered, stating that there are a lot of ongoing gas projects that upon completion would deliver huge value for the national economy.
Investors were also assured that government had put in place efficient security strategies to mitigate security concerns around oil and gas installations in the country.
Also presenting at the session, Olamilekan Adegbite, minister of mines and steel development, said efforts were on to return Nigeria to a mining destination through a digitization process that would encourage investors to participate in the mining sector in a very transparent manner.
Pedro Omontuemhen, a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, while contributing to the session, called for collaborative efforts between the various tiers of government for Nigeria to make the most of the extractive industries in the country.