President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria is open to investments and ready to provide leadership for Africa in oil and gas.
The President said this in Abuja on Monday while declaring open the first-ever Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS).
He added that the summit, designed to be Africa’s largest and most important platform and linkage to the world, was fashioned after the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) where technological breakthroughs were unveiled.
He noted that “NIPS is also designed after the OTC in Houston to deepen, enrich and provide leadership for Africa and make it one of the most important annual oil and gas events globally.
“It is aimed at engendering potentially-economic benefits, generate employment and expand businesses in Nigeria and Africa.
“This summit will afford Nigeria a unique opportunity to showcase to the international community policy direction and efforts of government in the petroleum sector.
“This is especially in the new oil and gas exploration and markets, new measures to sanitise the sector, the expansion of investment opportunities to boost investors’ confidence, technological advancement and Nigeria’s content development.
“Nigeria is open to private investment in the downstream sector and pursuing vigorously a programme for the rehabilitation of existing refineries so as to enhance capacity to supply locally-refined petroleum products in Nigeria and West Africa.”
The President said this was a key component of the national petroleum industry roadmap and the 2017 to 2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the present administration.
He said since the launch of the petroleum industry roadmap and ERGP, numerous successes had been recorded, especially in getting Nigeria out of recession and sustained increase in foreign reserves.
“We will continue to strive to achieve our target of seven per cent GDP growth rate within the next three years and be rest assured that previous efforts will be sustained.
“Our effort in stakeholder engagement and stabilising the Niger Delta will continue to receive due attention to ensure sustainable level of production, Buhari added.
On ease of doing business, the President said he would continue to ensure that efforts in the petroleum sector and issues related to transparency, efficiency, enabling business environment and deploying new policies and regulations were enforced “so that investors will always feel at ease.
“Corruption in this industry must not be allowed in any form. On our part, we will not stop the fight until a new image is created where transparency will be the watchword in all our transactions.
“Our emphasis on gas investment is for cleaner economy that is gas-based in alignment with the Paris climate change agreement.
“The agenda for this summit portrays opportunities for all, hence we should do more than just talk about it, we should also act on the resolutions from here.”
The maiden NIPS is a five-day event and has stakeholders from the oil and gas sector and from parts of Africa in attendance.