By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to consider the weight of the responsibility of the nation with “200 million poor people, with severe deficit in infrastructure” when sharing oil production cuts.
According to him, countries like Nigeria have peculiar challenges they are facing amidst large population and immense deficit in infrastructure.
Recalled that OPEC had two weeks back revised down its expectations for global oil demand for yet another month, as the renewed spike in coronavirus cases in major economies is slowing down the oil demand recovery.
In its closely watched Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR), OPEC cut its global oil demand forecast for this year by 300,000 barrels per day (BPD) compared to last month’s estimate, and now sees global oil demand at slightly above 90.0 million BPD this year, down by 9.8 million BPD compared to 2019.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari made the appeal at a meeting with the Secretary General of the organisation, Dr. Omar Farouk, at the State House on Thursday.
He welcomed the decision of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO) to cite the headquarters of the African Energy Investment Corporation in Abuja, pledging the full support of the country in ensuring the successful take off of the organisation.
The President who also gave assurance that Nigeria will pay for its share subscription, said the growing clamour for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels notwithstanding, countries like Nigeria needed to produce more oil to feed the petro-chemical industry and create jobs.
The President, who received praises for the vision of setting up the APPO and the ratification of its charter by Nigeria back in 1985 as Military Head of State, said the peculiarities of the challenges facing African oil producers required them to come together under the association to share experiences and solve their problems collectively.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva informed the President that the proposed APPO Energy Investment Corporation to be sited in Abuja will start with $1 billion from the AFRO-EXIM Bank and is expected to bring employment and other benefits to Nigeria.
The Secretary General of APPO who was accompanied by Dr Adedapo Odulaji, the OPEC Governor in Nigeria, conveyed the appreciation of both the Congolese President and the Prime Minister for the President’s support in the relocation of the headquarters of the association to its chosen location, Brazzaville, the Congolese capital.
He expressed hope that members of the 16-member organisation will surmount the challenges posed by COVID-19 as well as that from receding fossil fuel use as a result of the climate change treaties signed by member states and other nations.