President Muhammadu Buhari has called on African Petroleum Producers Association (APPO) member countries to be objective in taking a decision for the growth of the oil and gas industry in the continent.
Buhari made the call while declaring open APPO Council of Ministers meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
The president was represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
“I understand that Nigeria has completed its assignment and is ready to submit the final report to the Council of Ministers. As APPO ministers meet to deliberate on the report today, I urge you all to be objective and put the general interest of all above the interest of one.
“You have a very important decision to take, decisions that may make or mar the organisation.
“I urge you all to look beyond particular or regional interests to the general interest. “I urge you to dispassionately discuss the issues and take a decision that will strengthen APPO,’’ he said.
He also tasked the group to make good decisions on the recapitalisation of its development arm, renamed as African Energy Investment Corporation (AEICORP).
According to him, the reform of APPO has been extended to AEICORP, noting that a lot of recommendation made to APPO ministers has been approved.
“Among the changes introduced are the opening up of equity ownership to private and financial institutions.“
Others, he said, were the recapitalisation of equity to one billion dollars and establishment of a new Board of Directors with membership from both the private and public sector.
“In other words, AEICORP shall not be solely owned by sovereign countries of APPO anymore.’’
The president noted that the importance of AEICORP could not be overemphasised, given the global paradigm shift from oil as an energy source and at the time when more oil and gas were found in Africa.
“Without the required funds, these oil reserves will remain in the ground and un-accessed while people go without energy.
“Africa has 600 million out of the 850 million people in the world who do not have access to modern energy. We need to exploit what we have to take our people out of the energy poverty and by extension, economic poverty.’’
Buhari further urged member countries to make equity subscription to AEICORP, to ensure consequential investment by Sovereign Wealth Funds, National Oil companies or any other designate member or non-member of APPO.
In his remarks, Mr Mahaman Gaya, APPO Secretary-General, commended Nigeria for the role it played in ensuring that APPO existed and for hosting the meeting.
He said that there was a need for APPO to strategise to support the growth of the oil and gas sector in the continent.
According to him, leaders of the member countries must show the political will to support the various decisions of the organisation while stakeholders in the industry must also support APPO.
“We must make every effort to support APPO to thrive so that African countries would develop with the wealth of oil reserve in the region,’’ he said
Earlier, speaking in his capacity as the Minister of State Petroleum Resource, Sylva said that Nigeria had completed the assignment on implementation of reforms given to it by APPO Council of Ministers resolution No. 268 of April 2, 2019, at Malabo.
He said that it would submit its final report to the council of minister for consideration and approval.
“Some of the key decisions expected to be taken at this meeting include the choice of the host country for APPO Headquarters and the selection of a new Secretary-General and some Key officers of APPO Secretariat.’’
According to him, the recapitalisation of the AEICORP will also be part of the major decision to be taken at the meeting.
“It is my hope that this honourable council will consider every issue objectively, taking the interest of this organisation above personal or country consideration.
“We must bear in mind that whatever decision we take at this meeting will have a direct impact on the existence or otherwise of this organisation,’’ he said
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria and few other Africa countries championed the formation of APPO in the 1980s to provide a platform for cooperation, collaboration and knowledge sharing among African oil-producing countries.
The APPO member countries are Nigeria, Algeria, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Sudan, Garbon, Chad, Egypt, Ghana, DR Congo and South Africa.