23 June 2014, Lagos – The Minister Petroleum Resources, Mrs Deziani Alison-Madueke, has reiterated the commitment of the federal government towards achieving the petroleum industry reforms agenda through the actualisation of the objectives of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Speaking at an interactive enlightenment workshop on the PIB held in Lagos at the weekend, Alison-Madueke, who was represented by the Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), a subsidiary of the NNPC, Mr. Jonathan Okehs, assured that the PIB embodies the essential reforms that will put the petroleum sector on the path of robust growth.
She stated that the government priorities include the promotion of private sector investment in both upstream and downstream activities of the oil and gas industry.
In achieving this, she said the government is determined to establish a commercial framework for the industry including a tariff regime that promotes transparency, and also guarantee security of investments and a reasonable rate of return on investment.
She reiterated the urgent need to deregulate the industry and promote environmentally-friendly oil and gas exploration and exploitation methods.
The minister listed the other objectives of the reforms to include local content development; strengthening capacity building programmes, especially in core technical areas; and the provision of funding mechanisms for pre-bidding geosciences and surveys of deepwater offshore.
She noted that the reforms seek gas flare down to reduce pollution and increase revenue and promotion of adequate gas supply for domestic use and power generation.
Alison-Madueke also highlighted strategies to be adopted in achieving these objectives.
Some of these strategies include creating a deregulated and competitive petroleum sector to attract foreign and local investments; ensuring a viable commercial framework for the petroleum sector, including a tariff regime that promotes accountability.
“These strategies have proven to be successful in the power sector. Today, Nigeria is on the way to accessing capital investors in a sector, hitherto been without prospects due to policies that made investments uneconomic to pursue. It is my belief that the PIB embodies the essential reforms that will put the petroleum sector on the path of robust growth.
Adhering to the principles advocated above, Nigeria fully expects to be a significant hub in the African region for petroleum activities. We anticipate that initiatives such as gas pricing reforms, gas commercialisation framework and the gas infrastructure blueprint,” she explained.
Representative of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr. Mike Anochirim, said the bill is long overdue for passage.
He agreed with the recommendations of the PIB, adding that the issue of outsourcing and contract staffing is another critical issue that should be noted by the legislators.
Decrying the huge number of Nigerians still working as contract staff in the oil industry, he emphasised that regular jobs should not be outsourced under the new regime.