Nigeria hit by oil industry’s misfortunes, says Buhari – Punch

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday lamented that Nigeria has been hit by the misfortunes of the oil industry.

The President spoke while inaugurating the governing boards of three parastatals of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources-the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board and the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority-at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

All the boards have the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, as their chairman.

Buhari noted that the boards were inaugurated at a time when the world was experiencing a downturn in the petroleum industry.

This, he regretted, had also translated into dwindling production by most oil producing nations.

“Nigeria has been hit by the misfortunes of the oil industry but several countries have been hit much harder,” he said.

The President expressed the belief that all those nominated to serve on the boards have the experience to drive the NNPC into harnessing its potential and fulfil its expectations to the nation, despite the challenging time in the oil and gas industry.

Describing the oil and gas industry as the country’s major foreign earner, Buhari said he expected members of the boards to ensure that the NNPC charts a way to face the current economic challenges.

This, he explained, would involve a careful look at the ongoing reforms designed to steer the corporation to perform better.

In addition, he urged them to explore more innovative ways to resolve the Joint Venture funding constraints and other investment issues.

He added, “Since the arrival of this administration, there has been an improvement in transparency through the publishing of monthly operational and financial reports of the corporation.

“These, added to the major restructuring of the corporation and the liberalisation of the downstream sector, are pointers to the determination and focus of the new NNPC under this administration.

“I must mention that the task before you is enormous, but I am confident that with your wealth of experience and knowledge of members of these boards, the desired growth, this government’s aspirations and indeed the aspirations of Nigerians, will be achieved within a reasonable time frame.”

Kachikwu assured the President that he and members of the boards would work to reduce the burden on Buhari’s shoulders regarding the management of the institutions.

The minister said, although a lot has been achieved in NNPC, more needs to be achieved and “we will be working with the management through the boards to try and get them to where they should be.”

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, told journalists that with the inauguration, a new challenge had been given to the board to take the Nigerian content to the next level in order to enable Nigerians to participate actively in the oil and gas sector.