President Muhammadu Buhari admitted on Thursday that even as his administration is trying to diversify the economy away from oil, black gold remains Nigeria’s biggest asset.
Mr. Buhari promised more accountability and transparency in the oil and gas industry, saying that “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”.
Buhari at the 7 Big Wins Presentation
President Buhari was speaking in Abuja at a public presentation of “7 Big Wins To Grow Nigeria’s Oil and Gas”.
Nigeria’s depends mainly on oil and gas to generate money for its budget and Mr. Buhari had promised to diversify the economy away from oil into agriculture and other sectors of the economy. But many say Nigeria is broke with no money to build needed infrastructure or even pay salaries, much less invest a huge chunk into agriculture.
Although many Nigerians have been calling for diversification, those who have followed the Nigerian oil and gas industry since crude was discovered in 1956, have argued that Nigeria has even failed to take ownership of its oil and gas.
As at now, Nigeria relies on international oil companies such as SHELL and TOTAL to drill its crude and does not even have refining capacity for the local consumption. With gargantuan corruption, the country has often failed to redeem its cash calls, a sort of agreements it entered into with oil companies.
But Mr. Buhari speaking yesterday promised that Nigeria will pay its debts.
ADDRESS BY H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF 7 BIG WINS TO GROW NIGERIA’S OIL AND GAS
- I am delighted to be here this morning at this important event to launch the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Roadmap tagged “The 7 Big Wins”.
- The Petroleum industry, remains critical to the Nigerian economy of today and the future, despite our 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.
- Oil and Gas still remain a critical enabler for the successful implementation of our budget as well as the source of funds for laying a strong foundation for a new and more diversified economy.
- As important as it is to ensure that Agriculture, Solid minerals and other critical sectors of the economy are supported to grow and contribute more to the nation’s economy, we still need a virile and efficient oil & gas industry to take care of our foreign exchange requirements.
- This is a national imperative and a core thrust of our economic policy.
- Therefore, the task before the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is to maximize the potentials and opportunities across the whole range of the Oil and Gas industry to stimulate our economy in spite of the current challenges.
- To do this certainly requires creativity, innovation, technology and robust partnership amongst various stakeholders.
- There is also a dire need to instil 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.
- This will help us improve oil and gas production, explore our frontier basins, improve our local refining capacity and above all build sustainable partnerships with the oil producing communities.
- If we are able to plug the leakages, and tighten loose systems that characterized 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.
- As you are aware, recent developments in the Niger Delta have temporarily limited our oil and gas production and supplies. However, let me reaffirm that, whatever challenges we are currently facing in the region, our resolve and capability to work with all stakeholders to restore normalcy will guarantee success.
- I congratulate the Honourable Minister of State Petroleum Resources and his staff for putting this together and the good work he has been doing in transforming the Oil and Gas Industry.
- This Roadmap reflects the vision and aspiration of this Administration for this sector and urge you all to deliver on the expectations contained in the Petroleum Industry Roadmap.
- I also acknowledge the importance of the public, the media, local and foreign investors and other critical stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and appeal for their support and cooperation as we seek to consolidate CHANGE in this very important sector of our national economy.
Thank you all for your attention.