Inspired by the successes recorded so far by the country as shown on the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking, the Federal Government, on Thursday, said it is determined to actively pursue the ongoing reform agenda to keep improving the economy.
Speaking in Lagos on the theme: Nigeria: An Investor Friendly Destination, to mark the 55th anniversary of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chambers Of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo called for more private sector participation in the oil and gas infrastructure development projects.
On its part, he assured that the Muhammadu Buhari administration will continue to address development in the Niger Delta through its New Vision for the region that includes sustaining the peace by continuously engaging youths of the region.
A statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President quoted him as saying: “Our production has ramped up to about 2.1 million barrels per day from our 2016 crude oil production average of about 1.80 million barrels.
“In 2016, the Nigeria upstream sector of the oil and gas industry was challenged by the menace of upstream assets vandalism. From a peak production of over 2.30m barrels per day recorded at the beginning of 2016 we witnessed a decline to an almost all-time-low of about 1.0 Million barrels per day per day due to incessant vandalism. Many indigenous producers suffered perhaps more than other players in the industry.
“We will continue to address Niger Delta issues and build a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta, with emphasis on job creation for our teaming unemployed youths, investment in infrastructure, energy and promotion of sustainable livelihood,” he said.
Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, he stressed, stands to benefit greatly from the administration’s Ease of Doing Business reforms, just as he applauded the nation’s unprecedented step of climbing 24 places in the World Bank ranking, earning a place on the list of 10 most improved economies in the world.
This, he added, is an indication that the Buhari administration’s reforms were producing results.
“The present administration remains focused on making necessary even if dramatic policy shifts in this sector to grow, deepen and open up the business and opportunities in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector.
“This is fantastic news, but by no means an excuse for us to slow down. Instead we’re taking it as the very reason why we need to ramp up our reforms, for the benefit of Nigeria. There is still work to be done in reducing bureaucratic bottlenecks in the award of contracts and generally in obtaining approvals.
“It is for this reason – the creation of a business environment that catalyses business activity and investment – that this year alone we have issued an Executive Order focusing on improving the business environment, and launched two National Action Plans designed to be short-term interventions aimed at implementing specific business environment reforms. The second National Action Plan is ongoing, and we expect that it will yield results across every sector of the economy, including the OPTS.”
Prof. Osinbajo further said the Federal Government, through its sector road map launched in October 2016, is making inroads towards reforming and repositioning the nation’s oil and gas industry.
The Federal Executive Council, he continued, has approved a new National Oil Policy and a new National Gas Policy, with “a very specific time-focused targets and like the many bold steps we have taken in this sector since the inception of the present administration, we remain focused on making necessary even if dramatic policy shifts in this sector to grow, deepen and open up the business and opportunities in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector.