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‘How misapplication of resources, tax regulations undo oil sector’

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[files] In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, expressed disappointment over the delay in the passage of the petroleum bill. Photo: TWITTER/SPEAKERGBAJA

Chairman, Expert Advisory Panel of the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC), Odein Ajumogobia, and leading industry experts yesterday re-echoed the lingering challenges bedeviling the nation’s oil and gas sector, especially poor management of resources and regulatory loopholes.

Speaking at the launch of the 2019 Benchmarking Exercise Report (BER) produced by the NNRC, the stakeholders feared that the continued delay in addressing the problems could drastically affect the nation’s revenue and projected development in the face of growing population and uncertainties in the energy sector.

While Nigeria is a leading oil and gas-producing country, it remained the world’s poverty capital despite making about $484 billion from crude oil (about N150 trillion going by current exchange rate of N305/$1) in the last 10 years.
Amid government’s passivity to reform the sector, Ajumogobia decried the impact of the current global realities on the industry, especially geo-politics and the Coronavirus that had drastically affected oil outlook.

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Also bemoaning the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill years after its initiation, the former Minister of Petroleum Resources noted that the worries in the sector would continue to affect investments.

In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, expressed disappointment over the delay in the passage of the petroleum bill.

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Represented by a member of the chamber, Henry Nwawuba, the speaker promised that the current National Assembly would ensure that the piece of legislation gets adequate attention.

Also speaking, Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Sarki Auwalu, stated that there was need for proper management of oil wealth to create maximum benefits for Nigerians.

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He also canvassed pricing for gas, stressing the importance of encouraging domestic use of gas and ensuring that its price measures with what obtains internationally.

Cautioning the country against waste so that posterity would not judge resource managers, Auwalu pointed out that there was a need to focus investment in gas to transform the nation’s economy.

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“We need policy, we need legislation in this direction to promote gas development. That will make sure that our gas is not flared. We need to commercialise our gas,” he added.

The Programme Coordinator of NNRC, Tengi George-Ikoli, said the BER 2019, which covers the findings of a thorough examination of the petroleum resource wealth management in the country from 2018 to 2019, would play an important role in influencing policy decisions in the Nigerian petroleum sector.

The report, according to her, raised questions on the nation’s endowments, ownership and impact of extraction, adding that an inclusive and a comprehensive national strategy for the management of resources as well as securing best benefits for citizens through a well though out national strategy, clear legal framework and competent institutions.

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