The Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) says the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), currently before the National Assembly, provides an opportunity to stimulate growth in the oil and gas sector.
Mr Kayode Falowe, President, NBCC, made the assertion in Lagos on Thursday at a webinar organised by the Oil and Gas Group of the NBCC.
The webinar has “Oil and Gas Downstream and Midstream Sectors: The Way Forward” as its theme.
Falowe said: “The PIB needs to be accelerated for passage into law. It provides an opportunity for growth in the oil and gas industry.
“If we get our policies and regulations right, we will be able to attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to this sector.”
According to him, the oil and gas sector, despite being the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, contributes only 10 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy had made it imperative for nations to look inwards on how they could benefit from the opportunities which the situation provided.
Falowe said that Nigeria, with its large population, remained a key market for oil and gas investments, adding that government should, therefore, create an enabling environment for such investments.
Also, Mr Mahmud Tukur, former Managing Director, Eterna Plc., said that the PIB, National Gas Expansion Programme as well as construction and rehabilitation of pipelines and refineries would be of great benefit to the country.
He particularly praised the Federal Government for having the courage to remove the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
He, however, said that the policy should be backed up with appropriate legislation.
On his part, Mr Tunji Oyebanji, Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), said that apart from legislation, there was a need for the creation of a level-playing field for deregulation to thrive.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) prices must be commercially based in order to promote fair competition.
“Forex should be made available at the same rate to all marketers, including the NNPC, to have a competitive playing field,” he said.
Oyebanji underscored the need for self-regulation by industry players and stakeholders to promote safety, standardisation and efficiency.
He also said that Nigeria should also key into the economic benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) by becoming a refining hub and net exporter of petroleum products in West Africa and Africa, in general.