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25TH NIGERIAN ECONOMIC SUMMIT: Kyari Advocates Accelerated PIB

-By Fred Ojeigbe

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari has said that for an accelerated foreign direct investment, FDI, the Federal Government is determined to work with the National Assembly and all other stakeholders to pass the long-awaited petroleum industry bill considered to be capable of providing a win-win situation for all players in the oil and gas industry.

Speaking at the 25th anniversary edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) with the theme: ‘Rethinking the Future of Extractives’ in Abuja, Kyari explained that for Nigeria to make the most of the oil and gas industry, passage of the petroleum legislation was imperative as the bill has the prospect to guarantee a robust fiscal regime, protect the environment, ensure development of host communities, ensure proper alignment with other sectors and encourage investors to expand their investments in Nigeria.

“Getting the petroleum legislation passed is the right thing to do because investors will not invest their money if they are not sure of how they are going to get their investment back and what benefits they can get from their investment and how stable the investment climate is. We must resolve the petroleum legislation and I’m aware that this administration is working assiduously to get the law passed within the shortest frame of time,” Kyari assured. He also stated that the PIB, when passed, would create a robust fiscal regime that would make the Oil and Gas Industry competitive, even as he expressed optimism that International Oil Companies (IOCs) in the country would be spurred to invest more in the petroleum sector after the passage of the bill.

Kyari assured that before the petroleum legislation is passed, a lot of fora would be organized to harvest inputs from relevant stakeholders, saying that the proposed law would be aligned to best practices and it would be a win-win for all. He added that the oil and gas industry is the enabler of the economy and revenues from the Industry largely fund the nation’s budget, saying that the NNPC is committed to the expansion of the oil and gas infrastructure corridors to increase the revenue streams available to the government. The NNPC helmsman averred that the State Oil Firm was deploying several commercial solutions to leapfrog the nation’s economy, stressing that the goal is to create multifaceted job opportunities for Nigerians. Kyari assured that the NNPC is working round the clock to ensure energy security for the nation, revealing that the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano pipeline, dubbed the AKK, would be delivered to promote the growth of petrochemical companies in the country. He also assured that the domestic gas obligation would be delivered, stating that there are a lot of ongoing gas projects that upon completion would deliver huge value for the national economy. The NNPC GMD assured investors that the Federal Government has put in place efficient security strategies to mitigate security concerns around oil and gas installations in the country.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, has said that the nation’s real Gross Domestic Product, GDP, will grow by 3.2 percent in 2019. NESG in its 2019 Nigeria Economic Outlook report titled: “Steering Nigeria through the Inclusive Growth Pathway: What Strategy Should the Government Adopt?”, stated that the growth will be driven by information, communication and technology, and agriculture sectors. The annual report highlights economic forecasts for the nation. It also offers short and medium-term forecasts on the main socio-economic factors, while exploring the pitfalls and improvements experienced in 2018.

According to the report, “Inflation will moderate at 11 percent in the year, largely as a result of increased agriculture outputs and a stable official exchange rate at N302/US$. “Unemployment and underemployment rates decline marginally to 21.5 percent and 20.5 percent respectively. Government revenue will also improve by 20 percent. Speaking on the details of the Macro Economic Outlook, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) Mr. Asue Ighodalo, recommended the annual report as a tool for policymakers, academics, investors, the press and financial industry professionals, which will be widely used to inform policy dialogues and enhance operational efficiency of public and private institutions. He further emphasized why the Nigerian government needs to be deliberate about rapid growth and such growth has to be inclusive and focused on encouraging small and medium scale enterprises.