The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said some stakeholders are resisting reforms targeted at making the sector investor-friendly and more efficient.
This position is, however, contrary to insinuations by some stakeholders that the Federal Government is dragging the industry back with incessant sacking of skilled manpower in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government had relieved the former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, of his job.
Alison-Madueke, who made her position known at the 38th Nigerian Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Nigeria Council, in Lagos, said the ministry’s focus was to create the enabling environment for businesses in the industry to thrive, while also ensuring Nigeria’s energy and economic security.
In a paper entitled, ‘Africa’s energy corridor: Opportunities for oil and gas value maximisation through integration and global approach’, the minister said, “Reforms are always difficult to establish due to the inherent change management aspect, and of course, resistance pushback from stakeholders. The journey to transformation is often an uphill undertaking and it requires the joint efforts of all stakeholders to succeed.
“I am confident that the Nigerian oil and gas industry possesses the tenacity and courage to overcome the obstacles that I have mentioned.”
She said the country’s petroleum sector had always been at the centre stage of public discourse, adding that the situation was to be expected, given that it was the mainstay of the economy in terms of export and foreign exchange earnings.
Alison-Madueke explained that the growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Product should be supported by macro-economic indices of growth in the manufacturing and energy sectors, adding that oil and gas accounted for over 80 per cent of contributions to the rebased GDP.
According to her, only local refining and improved domestic gas utilisation can provide the strategic economic security for industrial revolution and growth of the country.