Oil Remains Important to Nigerian Economy, Buhari Insists
By Adedayo Osho
Friday August 28, 2020.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday 27th of August, 2020, insists that despite efforts to diversify revenue base to non-oil sources, crude oil would continue to remain relevant to the growth of the country's economy.
He disclosed this in Abuja through his representative, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, at the Sixth Triennial National Delegates’ Conference of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria PENGASSAN. Chief Sylva stated that the oil and gas sector was central to the infrastructural and economic development which Nigeria has recorded.
Buhari in a speech delivered by his Minister, said it was in acknowledgement of the significance of the oil and gas industry as an enabler of national growth and development, that this government carved out some Strategic Priorities for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources with a view to stimulating the sector in order to foster the sustainability of the Nigerian economy, create well paid jobs and take millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
At the conference, the government revealed plans of shifting emphasis from Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, to increased gas utilization in order to create enormous opportunities which will in turn boost Nigeria's economy. The Federal Government intends to champion increased utilization of the country’s gas resources to cushion the effect of the deregulation of the downstream petroleum industry on citizens.
During his address, President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Ndukaku Ohaeri, charged the National Assembly to resolve challenges hindering the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill PIB, in the past, adding that the non-passage of the PIB had denied Nigerians many benefits which could have been enjoyed from her hydrocarbon industry.
The Nigerian president promised to engage members of PENGASSAN and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers NUPENG in the cause of revamping the existing refineries.
Also in attendance at the conference was Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari. He stated that human resources’ cost takes up to 46% in the sector, thereby affecting price of oil commodities.
Kyari enjoined partnership between Unions and government, saying trade unionism has shifted from activism to collaboration, stressing that the perspectives of the oil and gas industry had changed and unions should be more interested in the survival of organizations especially in the post COVID-19 era.
Comrade Ohaeri, leader of PENGASSAN urged the Federal Government to revive Nigeria’s refineries and create the enabling environment for investment in the refining sub-sector.