President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, disclosed that Nigeria would join other African oil and gas producing countries in accessing the $1 billion African Energy Investment Corporation, AEICorp, Fund, promoted by the African Petroleum Producers Organisation, APPO, to increase its crude oil reserves and finance oil and gas exploration.
This came at the backdrop of the emergence of Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, a former spokesperson of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as the new Secretary-General of APPO.
Speaking in Abuja at the Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of APPO, Buhari noted that investments in the petroleum industry was fast drying up, making it difficult to access funds for crude oil and gas exploration.
Represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, Buhari maintained that without fresh funds, Nigeria and the rest of Africa would be unable to tap into and access the newly discovered crude oil and gas reserves across the continent.
He stated: "Closely related to the APPO reform is the reform and recapitalization of the development arm of APPO, namely the APPO Fund for International Development, recently renamed the African Energy Investment Corporation, AEICORP, which also struggled to achieve its mandate without much success.
"The reform of APPO was, therefore, extended to AEICORP. Major recommendations were made which the APPO Council of Ministers approved in their last meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
"Among the changes introduced are the opening up of equity ownership to private and financial institutions, recapitalization of equity to $1 billion and the establishment of a new Board of Directors with membership from both the public and private sectors.
In other words, the AEICORP shall not be solely owned by sovereign countries of APPO anymore. It is, now, to be owned by both sovereigns and private investors.
"The importance of recapitalizing AEICORP cannot be over-emphasized for us in Africa. As you are aware, due to the global paradigm shift away from oil as energy source, investment funds are fast drying up for the oil industry."