Buhari, Atiku seek end to reliance on foreigners in petroleum sector
President Muhammadu Buhari and former vice president Atiku Abubakar yesterday canvassed the need to end over-reliance on foreign personnel in the country’s oil and gas sector.
Buhari, who is visitor at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Effurun, Delta state, and Atiku, who received a honorary degree during the first convocation ceremony of the university, charged the academic community to add value to the oil and gas industry by developing sustainable local technologies and personnel that would drive the country’s growth in the sector.
The president, who was represented by the Executive Secretary National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Chiedu Mafiana said the university should be a catalyst for innovation and engine room for the Nigerian technological revolution in the oil and gas industry.
He said energy is critical to nation building and also a major challenge to the nation at this time saying, “Nigeria has continued to be a net importer of refined petroleum products in addition to its poor levels of electricity generation. I therefore task the university and the other agencies to rise and surmount these challenges.
The Turakin Adamawa, (Atiku) harped on the need for Nigeria to end the importation of refined petroleum products by locally refining its petroleum and produce petrochemicals and other by-products.
Atiku said: “The development of local content as well as indigenous talent and skills will help us to conserve foreign exchange and facilitate technology transfer in the industry for our country’s benefit.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has said that the Federal Government still depends on proceeds of crude oil sale in spite of plans to diversify the economy because the expansion needs money to be set in motion.
The minister, who stated this yesterday in Abuja when members of the House of Representatives Tactical Committee on Recession paid him a courtesy call, explained that although the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) has mapped out details of how Nigeria would regain economic buoyancy in short, medium and long term plans, the necessary funds to convert the plans to actions are not available, hence continuing reliance on oil proceeds.
Udo Udoma also told the lawmakers that President Buhari would soon unveil a dual purposed economic recovery plan for the country.