‘Abnormal Business Practices Bane Of Nigeria’s Economy’
Kenneth Yellowe, founder of the Global Energy Group, (GEG), an international oil and gas holding company, in 1994, comprising Global Energy Inc., Global Gas and Refining Limited and Global Energy USA Inc, headquartered in Houston, Texas, United States of America, in this interview with LAOLU ADEYEMI says there is enough gas in the country for both local consumption and export.
YELLOWE’S vision for a better nation is buoyed by the memory of his childhood, which he said, continues to rekindle his interest to invest in the country. “When I was a child in school, the city of Kano was once an important industrial city in the country. Today, majority of those industries have disappeared, resulting in unemployment, poverty and hopelessness,” he says.
Global Gas & Refining Ltd., the result of Yellowe’s vision for his country, became the first indigenous and independent gas processing (LPG) producer and marketing company in the country.
Speaking on his decision to invest in the nation’s economy, he says: “I believe in the potential and promise of this country.”
Yellowe’s company currently has an existing gas processing agreement with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources of Nigeria for the construction of infrastructure and supply of natural gas to his company for the Eastern Gas Grid.
The oil and gas businessman is not happy with the way business is practiced in Nigeria. “In a free-market economy, government should not be the driver for the energy and power businesses. The role of government is to establish the enabling environment, policies and institutions, whereby an entrepreneur, such as me, can create an indigenous natural gas business, which serves the needs of the people in Nigeria.
“There is tremendous power when a normal individual such as me can create a company from the ground up, approach a major energy company, such as Shell, Chevron or Exxon, or a Nigerian indigenous energy company and conduct business through transporting, liquefying, barging, piping and trucking gas which will serve as power for other Nigerian businesses and consumers.
“The desire for the Nigerian entrepreneur to conduct business successfully should not be dependent upon which political party is in power, or who occupies a certain office. What they need is the support and cooperation of government, not an individual or party in power, but rather need the support of the institutions itself. The most successful businesses, governments and organisations are institutions which survive whether or not their founders are alive or belong to the ages,” Yellowe explains.
In 1998, his company successfully negotiated and executed its first gas agreement with Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited of Nigeria for the supply and processing of associated gas from their Cawthorne Channel Oil and Gas fields.
According to Yellowe, “Global’s gas processing agreements and operations are capable of producing enough pipeline quality gas to add about 1000 megawatts (mw) of power to the country’s grid and produce over 400,000 metric tons (mt) of Liquid Petroleum Gas, also known as LPG (cooking gas) per annum. We have the capacity to completely satisfy Nigeria’s current annual LPG consumption and eliminate importation of LPG into the country.”
Yellowe puts the blame for the poor state of the nation’s economy at the doorstep of business practice, which he said, is abnormal.
On what should be the focus of government, Yellowe says: “The main focus of business is to grow the pie of opportunity, whereas the main focus of government should be to create the conditions which facilitate this growth. In any society, when the line for businesses is longer at federal offices for government largesse than it is at banks in order to get loans, the growth is not real or sustainable.
“At that point, these so-called companies focus more on a $2 billion-dollar contract from the government rather than creating $2 billion dollars of wealth generated from free enterprise.
“A business, which has to approach the government for a contract rather than a bank to borrow money, is not a bonafide business. These businesses are ill equipped to function as businesses in the truest sense of capitalism. It is to correct some of the assumptions that Nigerians cannot do these things that I decided to invest here in my country of birth, Nigeria.”
He also blames the failure of multinationals companies operating in the country for some of the problems Nigerians are going through.
He cited the failure of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd to fulfill an agreement between both companies, a joint-venture, where Global would process Shell-supplied gas for domestic consumption, benefitting the people of Nigeria, as one of the reasons for the shortfall in gas supply for Nigerian homes.
“During the days of colonialism, many European corporations built infrastructure, such as railroads and there were tracks focused, not on delivering value into the heart of Africa but on getting products to the coast to export for European consumption. These companies could care less about the development of the indigenous people as long as they could create an export market.
“How is this situation different now? Unlike multinational oil companies that only focus on exporting gas from a country that imports most of its fuel needs, I am fighting and committed to ensuring that a young student who dreams of being a doctor has a chance. I am fighting to make sure that a young tech entrepreneur doesn’t have his systems go down right when he is executing on the biggest tech contract of his life. What that young student needs, what that young tech entrepreneur needs and what I need is simple: the Federal Government must enforce the rules of law to which both IOCs and indigenous companies committed to in a contractual agreement. Shell, for instance, would never try to do something like this in the United States, England, or the Netherlands where they are headquartered.”
No comments yet