Nigeria petroleum industry in dire need of strategic reforms, says policy expert

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The Program Coordinator of the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter, Tengi George-Ikoli has said the nation’s petroleum industry is in dire need of strategic reforms. (TNG) reports the NNRC Program Coordinator stated this on Saturday during a media conference hosted on Instagram Live by Dayo Ibitoye, a public policy expert.

During the conference that was tagged, ‘Strategy for Reforming Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector,’ George-Ikoli stressed the need to optimise the oil and gas resources of the nation while they are still valuable.

The NNRC Program Coordinator also stressed on the need for Nigeria to have it’s energy supply sorted out in-country, while harping on the need to revive the countries refineries.

“Other countries now recognise that you have to have your energy supply sorted out in-country. If you don’t do that, you have a COVID-19 happen, and then you are clamouring for other options.

“This is why refinery conversation for Nigeria becomes so important. Because, if you are to have your oil in-country, you are able to refine it in-country, you are able to take care of your domestic needs, then you are not able to have these issues,” she stated.

She further stated that there was a dire need to change certain laws in order to make the oil and gas industry more competitive for oil companies to invest.

“While we want to make money from the industry, we have to be competitive. When the focus is solely on maximising profit, oil companies will move to other countries with favourable terms.

“In the last from years, you have other countries, like Ghana, Tanzania, changing their laws making the industry more competitive for oil companies to invest there. Ghana became a hot spot when they found oil.

“It is very important we have the most comparative terms. We need to put ourselves in a position to attract revenue to grow our gas sector. These are some of the things to put in place, in addition to balancing the need to make money and satisfy investors.

“The hope and the anticipation is that these would be addressed when we have the fiscal component of the petroleum industry bill (PIB) come into play,” George-Ikoli said.

Furthermore, the NNRC Program Coordinator stated that Nigeria needs to improve on savings culture, stressing that at the moment, the savings culture of the nation is too poor.

“We can’t save, but we withdraw way more than we save. That is the problem. We save more into the ECA because the ECA can easily be taken out from.

“We should save our funds in the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), for instance, and maybe, jettison the ECA, and ensure that we are able to save better.

“The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has amplified what is happening right now, but it’s not an isolated case, but to be fair, oil and gas is technical, it will happen again.

“So, we need to improve our savings culture,” George-Ikoli stated.

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