Despite the dire need of reforms in the Nigerian oil sector, President Muhammadu Buhari has said that reforms must not be rushed but properly thought out with the best interest of the country.
Speaking while receiving the national executive council members of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the president said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is currently undergoing legislative process, was conceived to ensure future generations of Nigerians benefit from it.
With the emergence of new oil frontiers in Africa and around the world, experts have harped on the need for Nigeria to urgently reform it’s oil and gas industry as the country is presently losing huge investment to neighbouring competitors due to uncertainty that exist in its operating environment over the non passage of its oil reform law.
However, while agreeing that reforming the oil sector will unlock numerous untapped potentials for the nation, President Buhari, emphasised that the reforms must be well thought out to have at it’s core the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Such reforms cannot and must not be rushed if we must get it right. We are still suffering from the effects of many legacy policies that were rushed and passed without fully appreciating the consequences the provisions embedded in them,” he said.
He added that the PIB was conceived to ensure that Nigeria’s future generations are positively impacted by its oil wealth. “It was never about short-term gains. I want to assure you that dialogue on the Petroleum Industry Bill is still ongoing. At the end, we will have a bill that the nation will be proud of,” the President said.
On refineries, the President who admitted that the Public Private Partnership approach adopted by his administration to rehabilitate the nation’s existing refineries has taken longer than expected, said however, that he was aware that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has concluded the process for selecting private sector partners that will rehabilitate the refineries and are already working out financing model.
He informed that government will continue to support innovative ideas that will bring new refinery investments into the country.