By Edith Ike-Eboh / Yetunde Bada
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria is open to investments and ready to provide leadership for Africa to ensure growth in the oil and gas sector in the region.
Buhari said this in Abuja on Monday while declaring open the first Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS).
The summit, designed to be Africa’s largest and most important platform and linkage to the world is fashioned after the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) where technological breakthroughs are unveiled.
“NIPS is designed after the OTC in Houston and part of the objective is to deepen, enrich and provide leadership for Africa and make it one of the most important annual oil and gas events globally.
“It will engender potentially economic benefits, generate employment and expand businesses in Nigeria and Africa.
“This summit will afford Nigeria a unique opportunity to showcase to the international community policy direction and effort of government in the petroleum sector.
“This is especially in the new oil and gas exploration and markets, new measures to sanitize the sector, the expansion of investment opportunities to boost investors’ confidence, technological advancement and Nigerian content development.
“Also, in the institutionalisation of reforms in the country’s oil and gas industry and the galvanization of Nigeria’s position as the leading oil producer in the continent of Africa.
“Nigeria is open to private sector investment in the downstream sector and pursuing vigorously a programme for the rehabilitation of existing refineries so as to enhance capacity to supply locally refined petroleum products in Nigeria and West Africa,’’ he said.
The President said this was a key component of the national petroleum industry road map and the 2017 to 2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the present administration.
He said since the launch of the petroleum industry road map and ERGP, numerous successes had been recorded especially in getting Nigeria out of recession and a sustained increase in foreign reserves.
“We will continue to strive to achieve our target of 7 per cent GDP growth rate within the next three years and be rest assured previous efforts will be sustained.
“Our effort in stakeholder engagement and stabilising the Niger Delta will continue to receive due attention to ensure a sustainable level of production.’’
On the ease of doing business, he said he would continue to ensure that all efforts in the petroleum sector and issues related to transparency, efficiency, enabling business environment and deploying new policies and regulations were enforced so that investors would always feel at ease.
“Corruption in this industry must not be allowed in any form. On our part we will not stop the fight until a new image is created where transparency will be the watchword in all our transaction.
“Our emphasis on gas investment is resources part of our effort to cleaner economy that is gas based in alignment with the Paris climate Change agreement.
“The agenda for this summit portrays opportunities for all hence we should do more than just talk about it, we should also act on the resolutions from here,’’ the President said.
The maiden NIPS, is a five-day event and has stakeholders in the oil and gas sector and from parts of Africa, in attendance.