Uche Usim, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, assured that the ongoing war against corruption will be fiercely sustained until a new image of the country is created.
Speaking at the opening of the first Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), in Abuja, the President, who was represented by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said his administration was determined to make the Nigerian business environment very conducive and attractive to local, regional and global investors.
He added that some Executive Orders bordering on ease of doing business were recently signed to make the Nigerian business climate soothing and investment friendly.
President Buhari described the summit as ‘a good platform to market the rich petroleum and gas resources of the country’, pointing out that his administration would continue to deploy new measures to grow the economy via foreign partnerships.
He applauded the organisers of the summit for modelling it after the popular Offshore Technological Conference (OTC) but localising it as the African Petroleum Technology and Business Conference (APTC).
“It is a very significant and has full government backing and it also represents a platform for global players to come to Africa. As a major component of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), the summit provides the linkage to the world.
“So, the war against corruption is continuing until there is a image of the country. Part of NIPS is to provide leadership for Africa. To make it one of the most important annual oil and gas summits. We’ll generate revenue and jobs. This will show Nigeria’s focus on oil, boost investors’ confidence, institutionalize reforms and galvanise Nigeria as leading oil player”, the President said.
He said his administration was committed to cleaner energy that is gas based, even as he urged participants to ensure the successful implementation of the resolutions reached at the summit.
In his remarks at the event, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu said NIPS has come to replace OTC, lamenting that the latter had become an annual jamboree for government officials.
“For OTC, we often have 400-500 delegates attending. Yet only a few of the attendees do the real business. It has become export of forex by Nigeria and good forex generation for the US. So, going forward, no government fund will be used to fund it. So, we have set up an African version of it to bring our African stakeholders together and forge ways forward. We need to bring investors here. To see what Africa has to offer.
“Our challenge is production of clean energy. Oil has got to provide jobs and power the country. We need to grow technically and improve human skills and become major investors in other Africas nations. We can export our works there just the like the banks have done.
“We have to move from 10 to 40 per cent investments in the sector. Already, we’ve changed funding mechanism in up stream. Egina, $15 billion, bonga potential $10 billion and in all, we will have $40 billion investments in the near future.
“We’re addressing restiveness in the Niger Delta region and we’re committed to getting our refineries working from the current 14 per cent to 95 per cent in 18-20 months time.
“NNPC has moved into competitive mode. It’s been freed up.
Also speaking at the event, the Secretary General of Oil Producing Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Barkindo, described the summit as very innovative, urging the Nigerian government to sustain it.