Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo has said Nigeria will still need revenues from crude oil to rebuild her economy, diversify it and overcome her dependence on oil.
Osinbajo also said the country’s chances of deriving maximum benefits from her petroleum industry had increasingly contracted on the backs of the challenges foisted by the global energy trend.
Speaking at the presentation of three books authored by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the vice president explained that trends in the global energy industry have shown that Nigeria cannot take as much benefits as it did in the past from the industry.
He said the country would notwithstanding, take as much as it can from the industry to quickly diversify her economy.
“As we move to diversify our economy, we are acutely aware that we need oil to get out of oil. Yet, our window of opportunity to benefit maximally from the petroleum industry is narrowing,” said Osibanjo at the recent book launch in Abuja.
He further explained: “The development of shale oil, which the author spends considerable time on, the increasing breakthrough in renewable energy use, the incredible speed of the expansion of the use of electric vehicles – Japan now has more electric charging stations than gas stations, all point inexorably that the party might be over sooner than we expected.”
The Vice President also said to ensure that the country derives the maximum benefits from the petroleum sector in spite of the global challenges, the federal government has had to deal head-on with critical issues bedeviling the sector.
He listed such issue to include the deregulation of the downstream sector and its continuing challenges.
Other issues, he added are vandalism of pipelines and export facilities and the critical drop in production, gas-to-power issue, the urgent imperatives of local refining, cash call problems and the plans to exit that regime and empowering indigenous operators.
He further lamented that the country’s oil and gas laws and policy are lacking of quality materials, stating that the three books written by Kachikwu would help fill that gap.
“These books are important because oil and gas laws and policy in Nigeria is notoriously underserved with quality materials. There are just not enough scholarly materials on the subject. But perhaps of greater importance is the pedigree of the author.
“With kachikwu’s antecedents, it is expected that the quality of thoughts and insights and solutions that should be on offer should be unique indeed. I am pleased to say that from my assessment of one of the books, he did not disappoint,” Osinbajo added.
He maintained that Kachikwu clearly took advantage of the rare convergence of scholarship, contemporary experience and policy wisdom to deliver what are probably today the most significant contribution to the understanding of major issues and nuances of the Nigerian petroleum industry.
Similarly, Kachikwu explained at the launch that Nigeria is going through difficult times, where thinking outside the box is absolutely the key for the country to succeed as a nation.