By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has identified seven key implementation strategies to boost the petroleum industry and enable export of refined products by 2019.He announced this at the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum between the Private Sector and the Economic Management Team (EMT) in Abuja on Monday.
Represented by Mr Johnson Awoyemi,, the Senior Technical Adviser of the ministry, the minister identified peace and security in the Niger Delta region as crucial in the programme.
Kachikwu mentioned policy and regulation; business environment and investment drive; transparency and efficiency; stakeholder management and international coordination as primary concerns of the ministry.
The others, he said, were engaging in gas revolution as well as increasing refineries and local production capacity.
“Oil and gas will drive diversification but the drop in oil production to 1.56 billion barrels per day from the annual estimate of 2.2 billion barrels per day will negatively affect growth.’’
The minister stressed the need to empower the Niger Delta region and ensure peace in the region by stopping militancy in enhancing the attainment of national aspirations in oil and gas production.
Kachikwu said that a lot of companies in the sector were indebted in payment of royalties, adding that the companies were in default to the tune of about four billion dollars.
He said there was need for policies on oil, gas, downstream and fiscal reform, adding that the proposed petroleum industry bill (PIB) had become very imperative.
Kachikwu said there were challenges in the oil and gas sector which led to drop in the nation’s GDP growth from 6 per cent to 4 per cent.
The minister said that this had led to shortage of funds for providing critical infrastructure.
He explained that there was 29 per cent decline in oil production amount to loss of 700,000 million barrels per day.
Accordingly, there was 32 per cent decline in gas production from 8,000 million cubic feet per day to 5,500 million cubic feet.
He announced that 3,000 pipeline vandalism incidents were recorded from 2010 to 2015, while 643 million litres of petroleum products amounting to N51.28 billion was lost in 2015 alone.
The minister explained that between January and June 2016, the ministry recorded 1,600 vandalism incidents in spite of efforts to boost local production and refining of products.
“Until we are able to locally refine what we produce, we won’t be able to go forward. It is the plan of the ministry that by 2019 the country has to export Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).’’
Kachikwu advised investors to embrace the ministry’s policy for creating modular refineries and asked them to come up with proposals.
He noted that some successes were recorded in the oil and gas sector since Nov. 2015, including the elimination of subsidy payments yielding N15.4 billion monthly savings.
Kachikwu had started the liberalisation of downstream sector with 47 per cent reduction in PMS truck loads and signing of 80 billion dollar MOUs at the China Investors Roadshow in June 2016.
The minister said that plans were on to increase oil production to 1.8 billion barrels per day by October and to two billion barrels by December.
Also, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said that the Federal Government had released N720 billion into the economy so far.
According to her, the administration has released N420 billion for capital projects, will release additional N350 billion to ministries, departments and agencies this week and ready to release another N350 billion in November.
Adeosun said the administration was targeting real GDP growth in 2017, rapid infrastructure development to drive the economy as well as diversification and growth of non-oil sector.
She added that government was concerned about improving the overall business environment as well as key socio-economic indicators.
In another paper, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukhu Enelamah, said Nigeria remained the best industrial hub in Africa.
Represented by Mrs Aisha Abubakar, the Minister of State, Enelamah, said that the country plans to move from 169 to 100 in the ease of doing business ranking in three years.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, said the administration was making efforts to pull the country out of recession through injection of funds into the economy.
He said the funds would come through asset sales, advance payment for licence renewals, infrastructure concessioning, use of recovered funds and other means to reduce funding gaps.