By INNOCENT ANABA
LAGOS—Senator Pius Anyim Pius, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, yesterday, regretted that the country’s crude oil was yet to be exploited for the benefits of ordinary Nigerians.
He called for a paradigm shift in policy and regulations to ensure that petroleum resources become a blessing and not a curse to the country.
He spoke at the 2012 PUNUKA Attorney & Solicitors annual lecture in Lagos.
Prof. Pat Utomi and Mr. Steven Otillar, United States Regional Director, Association of International Petroleum Negotiator, AIPN, and Executive Committee for the Institute of Energy Law, also shared the same position, as they proffered solutions to the country’s energy woes.
Senator Anyim, who was represented by Mr. Ferdinand Agu, regretted that though the oil and gas sector had dictated the pace and structure of growth in the nation’s economy for the past decades, its impact on employment generation, value addition and diversification of other sectors of the economy, remained comparatively suboptimal.
He said the oil and gas sectors’ relative contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in real term, had remained less than desirable with some estimates placed at 17 per cent in the last three years.
Anyim expressed hope that the petroleum industry strategies and progammes under President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda will stimulate investments in both the upstream and downstream by encouraging local and foreign investors.
He added that the Federal Government will strive to diversify oil exports to include refined petroleum products and other derivatives from the sector as a means of maximizing the benefits from petroleum resources.
He added that deregulation, privatization and other institutional reforms, were being pursued in this regard, while efforts geared towards the building new refineries and increasing the capacities of the existing ones are done to stimulate of the petrochemicals industries.
He said “I am proud to announce that this government is also making determined effort at reinvigorating the local content initiatives in the oil and gas sector with its on going reform of fiscal regime and regulatory framework through the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
“The Nigeria National petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is now being transformed to a world class national oil company with the capability to compete and fund oil and gas project as part of the global best practice benchmarking embraced by the government with enthusiasm and conviction,” he added
Utomi on his part, said was need for a paradigm shift from the way Nigerian resource was managed to allow Nigerians to benefit maximally from their God’s given resources.