Passage of petroleum industry law key to attracting investors to economy, says BPE DG

The immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill will help investors take advantage of the huge potentials in the country’s oil and gas sector and open up the economy, the Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Benjamin DiKki, has said.

Mr. Dikki said in Abuja on Wednesday that the oil & gas sector in Nigeria has huge potentials that could be harnessed to grow the economy.

He noted that if the economy were liberalized, investors’ confidence would be boosted to participate in oil exploration, refining and other associated services, with multiplier effects in employment generation and general expansion in the economy.

He expressed optimism that the eight reform bills transmitted by the Federal Executive Council to the National Assembly would be passed within the current legislative year.

Noting the achievements recorded in the transport sector, Mr. Dikki said the sector had huge potentials for the Nigerian econom. He said when the reform bills are passed, they would open up investments in road transport, inland waterways and railways.

He said Nigeria currently has193,000 kilometres of Federal roads, which would be broken into concession lots.

He disclosed that when these bills are passed, roads construction and maintenance would be handled by concessionaires as against the present practice of depending on the Federal budget.

“The inefficient transport delivery system in the country at present adds to the cost of doing business in Nigeria,” Mr. Dikki noted. “When these bills are passed, there will be massive investments in the sector.”

He said that now that the bills were with the National Assembly, they would be passed before the tenure of the seventh National Assembly expired in June 2015.

He urged investors to take advantage of the opportunity and come forward to invest in the oil and gas sector in the country. He said all the reforms carried out by the bureau, such as in telecoms, power and pensions have been remarkable and have impacted positively on the Nigerian economy.

He noted that before the reforms in the telecoms sector, Nigeria had only 450,000 fixed lines but at the moment, there are at least 135million GSM lines in the country, with an investment of about $235billion planned by investors to keep pace with the evolving technology in the sector.

For the pension reform, he said life has now become easier for pensioners in Nigeria as about N4 trillion pension funds would enable banks to give long-term loans.

For the power sector, Mr. Dikki said Nigerians are experiencing stable power supply at the moment, while the electricity generation companies had so far invested N200-N300 million to upgrade infrastructure.

The BPE boss expressed disappointment at the dwindling oil prices in the global market, adding that the rising exchange rate of the naira against the dollar and other international currencies would squeeze the Nigerian economy slightly.

He is however confident that as a resilient economy, Nigeria would come out of the troubled times.


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