By Oscarline Onwuamenyi
ABUJA – The Federal Government has expressed its willingness to collaborate with Uganda to develop its nascent oil industry in line with its commitment towards promoting the ideals and objectives of the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) and the African Union.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, disclosed this to a Ugandan delegation led by the Minister of State for Energy Development, Mr. Peter Lokeris, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office, in Abuja .
In his address to the visitors, Odein Ajumogobia stated that Nigeria and Uganda have a common history of agriculture as the main stay of their economies prior to the discovery of oil.
He admonished that Uganda should avoid over reliance on her oil resources but should learn to balance the development of her oil sector with other non-oil sectors of the economy; avoiding the pitfall of developing the
oil sector at the detriment of the non-oil sectors as in the case of Nigeria.
Ajumogobia pointed out further that after many decades of exploration of oil in commercial quantities, Nigeria was now at the point of repositioning the oil sector through the Petroleum Industry Bill to achieve the policy of diversification and to optimize the benefits of available in the hydrocarbon resources.
Speaking further, Ajumogobia explained that the present administration was addressing the issues of local content initiative, corporate social responsibility, manpower development, and the participation of oil producing communities at the local level for the purpose realizing the enormous gains latent in the nationâ€™s oil resources.
The Minister assured his Ugandan counterpart that Nigeria would be interested in collaborating with Uganda towards assisting it to develop its young oil industry. He however expressed its satisfaction with the Uganda government for giving Nigeria n entrepreneurs the opportunities to participate in developing her exploration and production activities.
In his own remarks at the occasion, the leader of the Uganda delegation and the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Mr. Peter Lokeris informed Ajumogobia that his country was interested in understudying the Nigerian oil sector especially the success of its local content initiative, revenue optimization.