The Federal Government has assured Nigerians and prospective investors that provisions in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) will take care of all the banes and clogs inhibiting investments in the country’s oil and gas sector.
The assurance was given by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Honorable Minister of State, Petroleum, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, in his address at the opening ceremony of the 5th edition of the Nigeria International Energy Summit (N.I.E.S) on Monday, 28th February, 2022 at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“There is now a level of certainty for the regulatory, administrative and fiscal framework and the legitimate grievances of host communities most impacted by activities of the industry has been addressed by the Act”, the President stated.
Speaking further, Buhari stated that it was in demonstration of its seriousness and commitment that his government wasted no time with the implementation of the PIA. Consequently, existing agencies were scrapped and replaced by new ones followed by the inauguration of new Chief Executives.
The President also explained that, in line with the provisions of the PIA, his administration ensured the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) under the companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). He added that the NNPCL is now a limited liability company. “Our target is to make it (NNPCL) the biggest, the most capitalized and the most profitable company in the whole of Africa”, he stated.
The President expressed satisfaction with the record-breaking activities the country’s energy sector witnessed in 2021. Of note, he mentioned the successful completion of the Marginal Fields Bid Round, The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) seeing the light of the day and the Decade of Gas Initiative.
On the conclusion of the Marginal Fields Bid Round, the President posited that it will give Nigeria the opportunity to speed up its fossil fuel exploitation and make good use of the resources for the betterment of the country rather than abandon the huge oil and gas reserves in the ground.
On the Decade of Gas initiative, President Buhari informed that, “our major objective remains the transformation of Nigeria into a gas-based industrialized nation through enhanced and accelerated gas revolution”.
On energy transition, the President allayed concerns around environmental, social and governance demands. He assured that government was building blocks and bricks that will ensure seamless energy transition as the country joins the race for net zero carbon emission.
Buhari charged the summit to develop smart home-grown goals for the country’s energy transition. “We are waiting to deliberate on the strategy from this summit and incorporate critical parts in it into government’s policies where necessary”, he added.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated that the energy sector, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari achieved the “Gold Standard” status with many giant leaps.
Sylva also commended the leadership of the National Assembly for their contributions to the successes recorded by the administration in the energy sector, especially in putting aside personal interest and putting Nigeria first by passing the hitherto age-long Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law.
The Minister noted that, with the PIA in place, expectations and optimism were high. He however expressed optimism that the stakeholders in the energy sectors gathered at the event were supercharged to meet the high expectations.
He stated that; “the PIA has indeed given the industry more clarity and certainty. The industry is poised to attract huge investment needed to reposition the sector”.
Sylva maintained that government has matched words with actions with the swift implementation of certain provisions under the PIA. Of note in this regard is the scrapping of erstwhile agencies and birthing of new ones coupled with the inauguration of the Boards of the new agencies. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) was also incorporated with a new Board in place.
He emphasized that energy transition is the direction the Industry is moving globally and Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind. He reiterated that, it was in this regard that the Federal Government declared Natural Gas as the transition fuel for the country. The Minister however averred that for countries that are endowed with natural resources but still energy poor, the transition must not be at the expense of affordable and reliable energy for people, cities and Industries.
In his speech, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Nasir Sani Gwarzo, mni, said the Ministry of Petroleum Resources remained committed to global and domestic energy transition agenda from oil and gas to cleaner and sustainable energy which will ultimately lead to cleaner, safer and sustainable energy by the year 2060.
Gwarzo further informed that, through various plans and actions, the Ministry was committed to drive long-term sustainable policy direction and monitoring policy implementation across the entire sector. He posited that it was his belief that the outcome of the summit would help the ministry in its bid to actualize the Decade of Gas initiative as a strategy for cutting greenhouse gas emission by 20% by the year 2030.
The Permanent Secretary thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his guidance and continued support and also appreciated the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva for providing unparalleled leadership.
Joining via Zoom, the Secretary General, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, (OPEC), HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, said the PIA would bring about the necessary reforms designed to strengthen institutions, solidify regulatory and fiscal frameworks and attract much needed investment in a sustainable manner.
Barkindo thanked President Buhari for his fervent steadfast support for Nigeria Energy Industry. He also praised the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources for his leadership roles and active participation in OPEC which has helped forge a sustainable stability in the oil market.
Enefaa Bob-Manuel (Mrs.)