President Muhammadu Buhari has acknowledged the critical role of oil and gas in salvaging the country from the current economic crisis.
Buhari, in an address at the launch of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Roadmap tagged: “The 7 Big Wins” at the presidential villa, said Nigeria still needs a virile and efficient oil and gas industry to take care of the nation’s foreign exchange requirements.
He said despite the economic challenges caused by dwindling oil prices, oil and gas still remain a critical enabler specifically for the successful implementation of Nigeria’s budget as well as source of funds for laying a strong foundation to diversify the economy.
According to him: “There is also a dire need to instill a new culture of transparency and efficiency in the industry, streamline operations along best practices by championing and implementing strategic reforms at every layer in the sector.
“This will assist us to improve oil and gas production, explore our frontier basins, improve local refining capacity and build sustainable partnership with the oil producing communities.
“If we are able to plug the leakages and tighten loose systems that characterised this industry in the days of high oil prices, we are convinced that we can do even more with the little that we are getting at the moment than we did even in the time of plenty.”
He said though recent developments in the Niger Delta have temporarily reduced the nation’s oil and gas production and supplies, the Federal Government’s resolve to work with all stakeholders to restore normalcy would go a long way in addressing the challenges facing the region.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachukwu disclosed that the major thrust of the programme is to raise government’s revenue from the oil sector through cutting down on project contracting circle, ensuring 100 per cent local refining by 2019 and the commercialisation of gas flaring.