Tinubu to ExxonMobil Executives: Our Reforms Will Make Nigeria Competitive Globally

•Country is important business destination now, in future, says Reckitt Benckiser

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has declared that three Executive Orders on oil and gas reforms signed by him will make Nigeria’s petroleum sector globally competitive.

Tinubu made the remarks yesterday during a meeting with a delegation from ExxonMobil Upstream Company, led by its President, Liam Mallon, at State House, Abuja. He emphasised that these reforms will ensure that no oil company faced undue challenges in the country.

The three Executive Orders, which became effective from February 28, 2024, were: Oil and Gas Companies (Tax Incentives, Exemption, Remission, etc.) Order, 2024; Presidential Directive on Local Content Compliance Requirements, 2024; and Presidential Directive on Reduction of Petroleum Sector Contracting Costs and Timelines.

Tinubu, according to a release issued by his media adviser, Ajuri Ngelale, also assured the ExxonMobil delegation that the federal government was committed to resolving the divestment issues, currently in court, between the company and Seplat Energy.

“We have been pushing for closure on divestment issues, and I believe the other party, Seplat, is open to this,” the president said.

The president commended the company for its show of commitment to environmental protection in Nigeria, noting its efforts in reducing gas flaring in the country.

“Nigeria is going through a lot of reforms, and we have been navigating the leadership quarters carefully to ensure that we achieve a win-win situation for all parties and attract more investments,” he said.

Tinubu described ExxonMobil as a worthy partner in Nigeria’s development over the decades and urged the company to remain committed to contributing to the success of his administration.  

He stated, “We are close enough to be fair and blunt with you, and we are not afraid to hear from you on better options and recommendations for the growth of the industry in Nigeria.”

The meeting, also attended by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, discussed issues, such as divestment, decommissioning, and abandonment as regards the company.

Lokpobiri stated, “Mr. President has given a clear directive to the NNPC GCEO and I to resolve the issue of divestment, and we are doing whatever we can to achieve that.”

On decommissioning and abandonment in the oil industry, Lokpobiri stated that the ministry was addressing the matter in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and global best practices.

He said, “The reforms driven by the three Executive Orders will ensure that companies operating in Nigeria have the best environment to continue making their investments and that no company will seek to leave Nigeria.”

Earlier in his speech, Mallon expressed his appreciation for the support and reassurances provided by the Nigerian government and pledged the company’s long-term commitment to the country’s energy sector.

He also commended Tinubu for his courage and conviction to undertake bold reforms within his first year in office.

Equally, yesterday, Tinubu received assurances from Reckitt Benckiser, the global fast-moving consumer goods company, that they will continue to grow their investments in Nigeria.

Receiving a delegation from Reckitt Benckiser, led by Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kris Licht, and Chairman of Reckitt Benckiser Nigeria Limited, Chief Olu Falomo, Tinubu lauded the company for its over 60 years of investment in Nigeria and commitment to the country’s development.

Tinubu stated, “We are creating an environment for the private sector to thrive in. I am glad that you are here to stay for the long term. I am happy that you have been in the country for many years, and you have decided to invest more.

“We have embarked on challenging reforms to improve the economy. Our reforms will improve the ease of doing business for partners like you moving forward.”

The president assured investors of good returns on their investments, supported by a buoyant market and a large population.

Earlier in his remarks, Licht described Nigeria as an important country to the company. He stated, “We have had very good business here for many years, and we congratulate you on your first year in office. We see Nigeria as an important business destination for today and the future.’’

On his part, Falomo reiterated the company’s long standing commitment to Nigeria, saying, “We have asked our global team to come and assure you that we back your efforts. They have said they are not going anywhere. We are here to support this government.”

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