25 May 2018

Nigeria: 'Poor Governance Framework Bane of Investment in Extractive Sector'

Abuja — The inability of the federal government to sustainably address key issues affecting the extractive industry, especially the lapses in governance law, will continue to limit foreign direct investment into the sector, stakeholders have said.

The experts, who spoke ahead of a high level lecture series that kicks off in Abuja today, accused the federal government of deliberately slowing down reforms that would have spurred FDI into the country.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki would lead other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to discuss some of the issues, especially governance law and emerging challenges.

Saraki, his colleague, Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Bello Aliyu Gusau and other industry players would focus on 'Nigeria's Petroleum Industry Governance Law & Global Investment Opening In The Sector', at a lecture series organised by the Institute of Oil & Gas Research & Hydrocarbon Studies.

The Chairman of Council of the Institute, Prof. Akin Akindoyeni, who noted that the federal government must urgently address the issues around governance of the oil sector, stressed that the country is losing billions of dollar by playing politics with the challenges hindering the sector.

To him, with the amount of oil deposit in the country, monopoly, which is supported by the government, is drastically affecting the sector.

Akindoyeni said the event, which starts today in Abuja would create opportunities that would expose the areas in which investment in oil and gas and hydrocarbon is possible in Nigeria.

"We have so many battlefronts and the weapons we are going to use depend on research. In the near future most of us would begin to gather authentic data on exploitation of oil and gas and hydrocarbon in Nigeria.

"To identify where it will pay the country and the host communities, to help people invest in either the upstream or downstream. But not the way it is being done now," the Prof. said.

Akindoyeni noted that the event would enable the institute to make important recommendation to government on real facts and the areas of investments and what the conditions of investments could be for Nigerians and foreigners.

"On our upcoming programme, we have academics that are doing real research in these areas and you will hear some of them speak. What they are going to be telling you will be based on data. You will be listening to them and you will start to see the depth of the problems of the oil and gas and hydrocarbon in Nigeria.

"From there, we will know what has to be done for investment that will benefit this country and people of this country. I believe those who work at the alter most also eat," he said.

Akindoyeni, stated that the Institute of Oil and Gas Research and Hydrocarbon Studies is a multilateral research, not-for-profit educational Institute, was established under CAM Act 1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, and approved by Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Justice.

"The Institute aspires to work in over 50 countries across the world to find additional means of utilising petroleum resources to achieve competitive advantage, greater value and positive economic impact for nations with these natural resources.

"The Institute attempts to develop competent oil and gas professionals that are supporting the rapid technological occurrences in the industry as global demand for hydrocarbons continue to grow every year by about 1.3 per cent and may hit 107 million barrel per day in the near future," Akinoyeni said

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Institute, Ambassador Moses Essien, who spoke to The Guardian, disclosed that discussions would center on Nigeria's petroleum industry governance law and global investment opening in the sector.

According to him, the lecture will further expose huge investment potentials in the industry to both foreign and local investors.

"This year's lecture is put together to dissect and open issues on how Nigeria will benefit from the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill by both the Senate and House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"The lecture should expose the massive investment opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas industry to both foreign and local investors."

According to him, the event, which comes up later in the day, will draw oil and gas stakeholders from around the world.

"Corporate bodies from around the world that are expected to attend this epoch making event include but not limited to Nigeria, Namibia, Libya, India, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, South Africa, Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Tunisia, Egypt, Pakistan, Canada and United States of America.

"The Institute shall also execute the African Oil & Gas Globe Awards as well as Oil & Gas Corporate Membership Programme 2018", Essien stated.

Prof. Akinoyeni had earlier called on the government ensure speedy passage of the host community and other bills that made up the Petroleum Industry Bill.

"It will give us some of what we want now. The attitude of cleaning up of what has been damaged in the environment is not taking us anywhere. Instead, they will go to the paramount ruler of the area, give him a new car, give a couple of scholarship to some of the children and that is the end.

"According to the vice president, the cleaning up is way behind schedule. And the people who are saying something about the clean up are not those who have authority to speak on the project but those who are not happy with the way the project is done.

"The host community bill will help but what I have discovered about Nigeria is that when you have a law that is being proposed and debated, there would be those who are against it. Mostly they are people who will find that they have nothing to gain from it. However, if they are being given some kind of public relations, they will agree but they will have conditions.

"Do you know that before the 13 per cent derivation revenue was agreed upon, there was heavy opposition from the northern states? During the national conference when someone proposed 20 per cent as derivation revenue, it was also heavily opposed. It was opposed by states that have no oil except Ekiti, Kwara, Benue, and Enugu. Virtually, all the northern states opposed it. But go to Texas. If oil is found on somebody's land, there is a percentage that goes to that person or that family on what comes out of that oil, not in Nigeria, he added.

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