Inside Business Africa INSIDE BUSINESS AFRICA APRIL 2019 - Page 17

Oil & Gas Report I N S I D E B U S I N E S S A F R I C A Seeking the way out Kachikwu seeks indigenous takeover of IOCs’ operations D r. Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, tasked indigenous operators in the oil and gas sector to step up their investments and take over major operations from international oil companies (IOCs). Kachikwu made the assertion at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Nigeria Oil and Gas Opportunities Fair (NOGOF) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Thursday. The 2019 NOGOF conference which featured about 1,500 participants was tagged: 'Maximising Oil and Gas Industry for Benefit of Nigerian People'. The minister said it became important, especially as many were considering divesting and charting new paths. According to him, changes in the global oil and gas industry are presently challenging the present exploration and investment strategies. This, he said, was because, "oil is fast becoming a degenerating asset with alternative sources of energy taking over and attracting new investments". Kachikwu said while the world was moving on from fossil fuels, Nigeria has yet to take advantage of the opportunities in the sector and design strategies to harness advantages of renewables. The minister urged indigenous firms to take over and stop playing safe if they would benefit from the opportunities availed through new trends in the industry. Kachikwu said government had reduced the cost of crude production to 23 dollars per barrel from about 32 dollars, adding that some companies in the joint venture with NNPC had 36 u t APRIL1 4 - 28, 2019 THE MAGAZINE 0F THE CORPORATE WORLD already driven the cost down to 15 dollars. The minister said henceforth, approval for projects in the petroleum industry would be based on the cost of producing oil and gas, noting that efforts are on to further ensure the cost was brought down to below 15 dollars per barrel. He added that efforts to bring down cost of production should not be by the government or through policies, but should be driven by the private sector. He said: “The ministry is going to come up with a benchmark to analyse and compare companies who do business in Nigeria and what cost of production they are running. This is because any unbelievable cost of production, basically impacts on the revenue stream of the country. “We need to start finding out how companies awarded recognition are doing, and why are the others not going in that direction. However, excuses of the environment being different or absent infrastructure can no longer hold water, because there are a lot of countries with peculiar situation as ours that are producing oil at relatively lower level. “One of the mandates that I am giving the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is that as we begin to look at new projects, the cost at which we are going to produce is going to become critical to our ability to approve those projects for you. “This has brought us to another milestone in the industry where the crude oil loading and export can be effectively monitored from my office. So, it is becoming a major front burner item." He said government had invested tremendously in the oil and gas sector towards building capacity and investing in human development. According to the minister, government had also ensured increase in production activities, and completion of Egina Project and AKK Pipelines among others, and was also working towards ensuring zero gas flare by 2020. I N S I D E B U S I N E S S A F R I C A Cover Feature THE MAGAZINE 0F THE CORPORATE WORLD that only speak but not seen. The amount of money small business owners are mandated to pay regulators and the double taxation issue are outrageous and overbearing. The taxes and levies government at all level charge all in the name of ensuring best practices are purposely designed to make sure that SMEs do not survive beyond one year of doing business and this is a fact. Statistics show that SMEs die within their first year of operation. And this is due to the harsh business climate in the country. While we believe government must do their job but what is the sense is that job when the businesses you are regulating die off within a short period? How can Buhari in this his second coming change this? We believe Buhari shouold engage his policy makers in charge of business agencies to demystify the harsh reality of doing business in the country. There is a way to carry out and sustain regulations without stuffing the business life out of your people. The ease of doing business is something that must be pursued. SMSE are the drivers of the economy. The United States which we all envy was built and is being sustained by the private sector business which provides jobs more than the government. Buhari this time should match words with action and marshal out and implement policies that are business friendly so that a lot of Nigerians can be lifted out of poverty into prosperity removing us from the status of the country with highest number of poor people in the world - an undignified status that we got in his first term as president. We hope this time around, he would change that status. The insecurity imbroglio which was a major concern for Nigerians before Buhari became president. The Boko haram menace was one of the main reason Nigerians vote in Buhari in 2015. He had made it a key campaign promise to tackle the security challenges. He vowed to decimate Boko Haram. But did live true to this promise in his first term? Not exactly! Nigeria has had more deaths of innocent Nigerians from Boko Haram and herdsmen and In Jordan, President Calls for Economic Inclusion of Underprivileged ... farmers clash than we had during his predecessor. The country is worse of now with the terror of the evil group. Some International organizations who were providing voluntary humanitarian services have excused themselves from the northeast and left for their countries due to the escalation of the crises. It is in the news that the terrorist agents executed Hauwa Liman and Saifura Ahmed, two nurses with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Alice Ngaddah, another aid worker and Leah Sharibu -a young high school girl are still in the enclave of Boko Haram. As long as the both of them are still with their abductors, this government remains a big failure in eliminating Boko Haram. Changing the narrative about his attitude and the reputation he gained for nepotism and disunity is a task Buhari must do. Just few weeks into his presidency, in a question and answer session on running an inclusive government, the President blurted out that no one should expect him to treat 97% vs. 5% in the same way. 97% being his northern people who had given him the largest block of votes to ensure his victory while 7% being the southeast. A president must not speak in that manner, period. One would think it was a spur of the moment reaction and that he would reflect on that statement and not act accordingly. It wasn't to be. President Buhari acted those words in his political appointments - giving a huge chunk to people from his side of origin. He appointed only his northern people in all the security positions against the principles of federal character which idea is to engage all the regions of Nigeria in federal appointments. Buhari with this sort of action showed himself a nepotistic and divisive person rather than a president who should operate on democratic principles of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Buhari must change his bias and partiality this time around. He can make a difference by giving qualified and competent people from all the regions the chance to serve their country in positions that are available. Buhari can strive to strengthen the unity of a country that already has the elements of war by being fair and just to all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity and religion. It is believed he will do things differently in this second term - another four years. This is a second chance and many are not given second chances, but he has it. BY OUR CORRESPONDENT; Additional Report from Sahara t 17 u APRIL1 4 - 28, 2019