Oil and gas: Policy inconsistency hampering development
The oil and gas industry without doubts, has constituted the country’s main source of revenue for decades.
In its long and tortuous history, it displaced other sources of revenue such as agriculture and mining, becoming a curse and blessing in one ironic mix.
In the century in which oil and gas sector was an important factor in driving development globally, the country has so far got less than it deserved in terms of what the sector could have contributed to national development; as a result of corruption, yawning lack of transparency in the value chain and above all, policy inconsistency of successive administrations.
Thus, there’s a lack of uniformity and unanimity of vision among the key actors- governmental
agencies, oil companies and host communities; owing to the pursuit of divergent interests and geopolitical considerations.
Yet, it is the considered view of EnergyDay that tangible benefits abound if key actors and stakeholders consistently strive to ensure that production activities are sustained ; and this can not be achieved without patriotism and honesty of purpose from government down the value chain line.
As a newspaper, we recognise that there are avoidable, apparent corporate, operational, social, environmental and political challenges militating against the optimal performance of the sector.
There is no gainsaying the fact that there’s dire need to revisit the underlying policy and regulatory framework that drives this industry, which in all estimation, is the bedrock of Nigeria’s economy.
There have been too many policy inconsistencies and flip-flops, and we need to move away from that tradition which has not helped us.
It is confounding that a government that is talking about deregulation, privatisation is at the same time encouraging Modular refineries, at a time when the nation is borrowing to pay civil servants salary approved $1.5billion for the rehabilitation of PH refinery.
The tragedy is that most of those seen as key players are only fighting for their own interest. The question is; what is the government’s direction for the sector?
As it is now, it is a hard sell to be convinced that there is deregulation in place given government’s interference at different levels.
It would seem this government is taking Nigerians for a ride as no attempt is made by the media or any group to interrogate issues seriously.
Nothing underlines a lack of serious approach to our policy action than the recent lauch of autogas policy which was rolled out last December.
There was much fanfare and media spotlight to the lauch, three months after nothing is heard about the policy. Where are the filling stations selling auto gas in Lagos and Abuja? How many cars have been converted? How much is gas sold to vehicles compared to petrol? What happened after the funfair of the launch.
It also in the light of these challenges militating against solid policy thrust that can drive development in the sector that will bring progress to Nigerians that this newspaper is swayed by the argument, as to whether the development of oil resources, has been more of a curse than a blessing to the bulk of Nigerian citizens.
It is our belief that transparency squarely perches at the centre of all the important and integral conversations on the pathways to deliver the full or holistic potentials of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
In this light, we plead with policy makers and drivers of the sector, including oil companies and other stakeholders to be more open and transparent.
Every word, every law, policy, code or initiative connected with the industry, must ensure that requisite disclosures are made as and when due.
This outlook of transparency and openness will breath new life into the sector, gain confidence of the people, and will enable the key stakeholders to adjust or react as the circumstances demand.
This position of full disclosure and openness, for us at EnergyDay, is important