From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
THE Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachickwu, has stated that the novel price modulation mechanism currently in place will ensure that the Federal Government records zero expenses on fuel subsidy in 2016.
Delivering the 45th Convocation Lecture of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, under the theme, “The Petroleum Industry and the Future of the Nigerian National Oil Resource Management, Implication for National Security & Economic Survival,” Kachikwu, noted that the zero fuel subsidy regime was already in place and would be sustained based on the prevailing modified pricing template for petroleum products which has eliminated extraneous cost elements.
“Without necessarily government will spend zero amounts in subsidy in 2016. This may sound unbelievable to some people but that is part of the change agenda of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said while noting that large chunks of vandalised pipelines are being recovered to supply more crude to the refineries.
The Minister said that despite the difficulties of yester-years, the oil and gas industry in Nigeria is primed for greater achievements in the months and years ahead due to recent landmark reforms being engendered and activated by the present administration.
Kachikwu outlined the central objective of the ongoing oil and gas reform agenda to include increasing revenue for the country through sales of crude oil and petroleum products and taxes on profitable enterprises; maximising value added on the crude oil and gas to establish linkages with other sectors through local processing and establishment of gas-based industries thereby stimulating economic growth and development as well as providing employment opportunities for Nigerians.
He said, “Significant improvement in governance macroeconomic and fiscal policies are key to harnessing oil and gas resources for the sustainable development of Nigeria through enshrining transparency and accountability, empowering good governance and transparency in expenditure and revenue management.”
The NNPC GMD also noted that the ongoing reform is designed to create competitive framework for public private partnerships anchored on durable financial investments.
He, however, expressed appreciation to the management of UNN for considering him worthy to deliver the convocation lecture, adding that as an alumnus of the university, he would continue to contribute his quota to its growth and development. “Whatever I am today, UNN contributed immensely to it,” he said.
In his remark, the Vice Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, said the 45th convocation lecture was unique because it was delivered by a guru in petroleum industry who has within a record time transformed the oil sector.