15 months into the current administration, the reforms, laws and policies which the federal government promised to initiate in the petroleum sector have not materialised just like several other promises made by the APC-led government.
In June 2015, Buhari promised to undertake “appropriate reforms and implement fresh policies to boost national income from oil and gas production.” He said “bureaucratic bottlenecks created by multiple government agencies that currently impede the operations of companies in the oil and gas sector” will be removed.
More than a year later, not much progress has been made on that front. Pres. Buhari has not sent a single executive bill to the national assembly related to that sector. The speaker of the house of representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said recently that the national assembly will no longer wait for the federal government to take the initiative on the all-important Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and will kick-start the process itself.
Now, minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, has said that there isn’t even a comprehensive petroleum sector road map. He however promised that work on that is underway and will be completed in “a few months.” The road map will contain policies such as National Gas Policy, National Oil Policy, Fiscal Policy and National Downstream Policy embedded in them.
“We need consistent policies or else we will lose out to competitors,” Kachikwu said, while delivering a keynote address at the 2016 edition of National Association of Energy Correspondents conference, with the theme: The Urgency of Now.
Kachikwu said that it is now urgent to review these laws in view of the challenges bedevilling the sector, top of which he said is militancy which has reduced production from about 2.2 million barrels per day to about 1.5million barrels, crimping gas to power plants and contributing to polluting the environment.
“The solution to the agitation in the Niger Delta is not militancy and bombing campaigns, what we need is extensive dialogue,” he said.