President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja stressed the need for a new culture of transparency and efficiency in the nation’s oil and gas industry to improve oil and gas production in the country.
The President stated this at the public presentation of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources’ 7 BIG WINS, a short and medium term priorities to grow Nigeria’s oil and gas industry between 2015 and 2019.
He stated that an efficient oil and gas industry would ensure that agriculture, solid minerals and other critical sectors of the economy were supported to grow and contribute more to the nation’s economy.
He added that the nation needed a virile and efficient oil and gas industry to take care of its foreign exchange requirements and also help to explore the frontier basins, improve local refining capacity and build sustainable partnerships with the oil producing communities.
“There is also a dire need to instill a new culture of transparency and efficiency in the industry, streamline operations along best practices by championing and implementing strategic reforms at every layer of the industry.
“If we are able to plug the leakages, and tighten loose systems that characterised this industry in the days of high oil prices, we are convinced that we can do even more with the little that we are getting at the moment than we did even in the time of plenty.
The President said that the petroleum industry remained critical to the Nigerian economy of today and the future, in spite of the current challenges.
“The golden era of high oil prices may not be here now, but oil and gas resources still remain the most immediate and practical keys out of our present economic crisis.’’
He said that oil and gas remained a critical enabler for the successful implementation of the nation’s budget as well as the source of funds for laying a strong foundation for a new and more diversified economy.
According to him, this is a national imperative and a core thrust of his administration’s economic policy.
The president reiterated his administration’s determination to resolve the socio-economic and security challenges in the Niger Delta region.
He, therefore, reassured that government’s resolve and capacity to work with all stakeholders to restore normalcy would guarantee success in the Niger Delta region.
“As you are aware, recent developments in the Niger Delta have temporarily limited our oil and gas production and supplies.
The president congratulated the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and his staff for their foresight and vision to transform the oil and gas industry.
According to the president, the oil and gas road map reflects the vision and aspiration of his administration for the oil and gas sector.
He urged all stakeholders in the sector to deliver on the expectations contained in the Petroleum Industry Roadmap.
The President, therefore, appealed for the support and cooperation of the media, local and foreign investors and other critical stakeholders in the oil and gas industry “as we seek to consolidate CHANGE in this very important sector of our national economy’’.
The minister explained that the 7 Big Wins to grow the Nigerian oil and gas industry was aimed at developing a stable and enabling oil and gas landscape with improved transparency, efficiency and stable investment climate.
He expressed the hope that the ongoing reform in the sector would provide huge investment opportunities in infrastructure development, oil and gas facilities, operations and maintenance across the value chain.
“We can decide today to face the current challenges and build our economy using our bountiful gas resources.
“In just a few years, we can see Nigeria if we work hard to be the latest exporter of petroleum products rather than importers, something that will act very dramatic in terms of foreign earnings, reduce the pressure on our foreign reserve.
“We can begin to work on creating thousands of jobs that will be of great benefit to the host communities.
“We can begin to attract investment and make Nigeria a citadel of investment destination in Africa and we can begin to take our rightful place in the comity of nations and develop policies that are essential to move the industry forward.”
The minister announced that Buhari would be meeting stakeholders from the Niger Delta and oil producing areas as part of efforts to achieve lasting peace in the areas.
Highlights of the event are the multimedia video documentary as well as presentation of the 7 Big Wins by Buhari.