The Federal Government has reiterated the ability of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to attract investment into Nigeria.
The position of government was restated by the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva in his address at the recent 2022 edition of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference holding at the International Conference Center, Abuja.
Addressing the gathering, the Minister stated that, one of the many expected derivatives of the PIA was the attraction of foreign investments into Nigeria.
He averred that, the only way to ensure the attraction of foreign capital was to have stable laws and a conducive business environment that will generate cost recovery as well as a decent return on investment for investors.
Sylva affirmed that the PIA was set to provide the necessary reforms designed to strengthen institutions, solidify regulatory and fiscal frameworks and attract the much needed investments in Nigeria.
The Minister assured that in spite of the current global conversations around moving away from fossil fuels to an energy mix dominated by low carbon sources of energy, fossil fuels will always have a share in Nigeria’s energy mix for the foreseeable future. “We will not at this time abandon our fossil fuels. We have however adopted our vast gas resources across the country as the transition fuel”, he stated.
Sylva expressed optimism that Nigeria, with a proven gas reserve of over 200 Trillion Cubic Feet (200TCF) coupled with the right policies and regulations to expand the utilization of her gas resources had a huge potential to become an industrialized state. He added that the shift to gas underscores President Muhammadu Buhari’s seriousness and determination in the development of Nigeria’s vast resources and making the country a major exporter and consumer of gas.
He restated President Buhari’s commitment to strengthening the gas value chain given its centrality to the transformation of Nigeria’s economy. The initiative, he said would create over two million jobs, promote skills acquisition, and enhance technology transfer in addition to growing the country’s GDP.
The National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), according to the Minister was set up in 2020 with a view to boosting utilization of Natural Gas in the short and medium terms. He stated that the goal of the body was to promote gas as an alternative fuel to petroleum products which would invariably stimulate in-country demand for gas and increase domestic gas production and utilization.
Speaking on whether or not Nigeria is an energy poor country, Sylva informed that government was working on many initiatives to tackle challenges of access to electricity and modern cooking fuels. He cited “Gas to Power” as one of the initiatives. He also listed the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK), the Nigerian Gas Transportation Network Code and the PIA among others, as enablers government was providing to realize the full potentials of the gas sector.
In his address at the conference, the Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, informed that, in spite of the enormous energy resources in Sub-Saharan Africa, OPEC data showed that an estimated 47% of people had no access to electricity while an estimated 85% lacked access to clean cooking and heating fuels, a development he said was hard to accept. He said OPEC was committed to expanding energy access and help achieved the United Nations sustainable development goal.
The Director overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Kamoru Busari, FNSE, in his address at the Conference stated that the PIA was certainly one of government’s planks to economic growth and attraction of investments in the sector as it addresses perennial issues around transparency, accountability, price inefficiencies, regulatory framework, ownership and control of resources, host community benefits, environmental concerns, appropriate fiscal regime among others.
Enefaa Bob-Manuel (Mrs.)