Kyari: Unstable Fiscal Regime Stifling Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry

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* Says non-passage of PIB scaring investors away

By Emmanuel Addeh

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has said that the absence of a stable fiscal environment is inhibiting the growth of the Nigerian petroleum industry, especially the upstream sector.

A statement by the corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Dr Kennie Obateru, in Abuja Tuesday, stated that Kyari spoke while playing host to members of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (upstream) who were on an oversight visit to the corporation.

The GMD said that international investors were losing confidence in the nation’s oil and gas industry and tasked the lawmakers to act fast and arrest the situation.

According to Kyari, who emphasised the need for the lawmakers to move quickly in working on and passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the proposed law would be a major game changer for the sector.

“We need to act quickly to move from this unstable situation to a very stable one and the only way is for us to get the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to work so that countries and investors can work with us,” the GMD stated.

He said foreign capital is needed in the upstream sector and that the only way to attract it is to have stable laws and a friendly business environment that could guarantee cost recovery and a decent return on investment for investors.

He disclosed that the uncertainty in the sector created by the long delay in the passage of the PIB had led to a number of divestments from the country in the recent past.

The GMD also stated that the drive by the management of NNPC to entrench the culture of transparency in the corporation has improved its business fortunes and credit worthiness as lenders are now willing to grant credit to it.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Musa Adar, expressed the readiness of his committee to provide the necessary support for the corporation to discharge its duties without hindrance.

He acknowledged the corporation’s efforts at deepening transparency and accountability, stressing that the committee was impressed with the level of professionalism exhibited by the NNPC management.

He also lauded the leadership role played by the GMD in rallying the oil and gas industry to provide support for the federal government’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a presentation, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Mr. Mansur Sambo, said the company had increased its gas production to 860mmscf/d and is now the largest supplier of gas to the domestic market.

During the meeting, all the business units in the upstream arm of the NNPC made presentations to the committee, the statement noted.