By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr Ibe Kachikwu has called for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to enable investors to have clear direction for investment in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
Kachikwu disclosed this at the closing ceremony of the Maiden edition of the Nigerian Petroleum Summit (NIPS), on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the passage of the bill would go along way to bring transparency and reduce the negative buy in that affect the industry.
“There many challenges facing the sector, policy direction is one of them and the major is the need to pass the PIB, which will help the sector to open up well.
“ In the area of transparency we have worked hard to get people know and understand the workings in the industry but till date, many people still have the believe that the oil sector is marred with heavy corruption.
“We need to give serious attention to transparency, to encourage investors in the sector,’’ he said
The minister noted that 40 billion dollar investment in the sector was not enough for the sector adding that the target was 100 billion dollars.
Commenting on development in the Niger Delta, he said that region remained a growing concern adding that there was need for a paradigm shift from the way the region was being perceived.
He said there was need for cross boarder investment in the region and collaboration of all stakeholders to ensure development.
He noted that everybody must be carried along including the host communities’ full participation in the sector.
The minister further projected that for the sector to achieve its goals, much were expected to be achieved in the next five years.
He named the achievements to include reduction in cost of production, pipeline replacement and finding a way to handover the pipelines to the private sector.
Others, he said was full deregulation of the downstream sector in the future and that passage of the gas policy for the achievement of power sufficiency in the country.
“This will help to drive production and distribution of gas for ultimate result,’’ he said .
He added that the 27 per cent local content compliance level was commendable but insisted that the target should be 50 per cent in the next five years.
Kachikwu further said that support for the construction of the modular refineries was important to help reduce forex drain adding that data availability for the sector must be domiciled in the country.
He called for a rejiging of the education sector to help drive growth and development in the industry .
“The future is promising, vast opportunity in the African region, we need to tackle fiscal issues to help empower the people,’’ he said.