The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( LCCI) has commended the federal government’s recent petroleum product pricing regime, noting that the sector has experienced remarkable progress with the new pricing reforms in the oil and gas sector.
The president, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande, explained that the state of the sector has a significant bearing on the economy because the nation needs energy to power its economy, maintaining that it could also be a major driver of economic diversification efforts.
The LCCI boss during a business clinic organised by the chamber’s petroleum downstream group, tagged “Nigerian Petroleum Products Pricing and Forex Liberalisation: Implications and Sustainability”, said the forum was timely and significant because it provided stakeholders with an opportunity to discuss and brainstorm on the implications of recent reforms in the foreign exchange market on the petroleum downstream sector.
“We would also be sharing perspectives on the new pricing regime in the sector. As we all know, the sustained decline in global oil prices since 2014 has put the nation in a difficult position and consequently led to various fiscal and economic challenges such as the drop in foreign earnings, decline in foreign reserves, financial bailout for many state governments and unstable business environment,” she said.
According to her, over the years, the nation’s petroleum industry has witnessed several setbacks such as: shutdown of domestic refineries, vandalism of pipelines and recurring scarcity of products, saying that there have been several discussions about reforms in this sector.
“The good news is that remarkable progress has been made with the recent pricing reforms. I have no doubt that this forum would provide a platform for all stakeholders in the downstream petroleum sector to deliberate on critical issues affecting investments and operators in the oil and gas industry and stimulate ideas for sustainable growth. This has become necessary in the light of recent policy developments and the emerging context for business operations,” she added.
Also speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, Ayo Teriba Associates, Mr. Ayo Teriba, said Nigeria would not have been greatly impacted by the dwindling global oil prices if the nation had diversified its economic revenue base away from oil.
He said oil producing countries are already finding alternative means to diversify their economic revenue base by investing heavily on Infrastructure and creating enabling business environments to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), urging the managers of the economy to follow suit to make Nigeria a more attractive investment destination.
According to him, “The crisis is happening because we have neglected opportunities in the capital account, saying the way forward is for the country to regain competitiveness by investing in infrastructure development to become Africa’s top investment destination and deploy macroeconomic and sectoral strategies.