The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday said Nigeria’s gas sector has the potential to create millions of jobs, bring about industrialisation as well as generate more revenue for the government.
For these reasons, Gbajabiamila said, the country must do all it could to correct all anomalies in the sector.
Declaring open a public hearing on the ‘Inclusion of Gas Terms in Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) organized by the Joint House Committee on Gas Resources, Petroleum Resources (upstream) and Petroleum Resources (downstream) on Tuesday at the National Assembly, the Speaker said he believed the panel would do justice to the matter.
“For too long, Nigeria’s natural gas resources have existed almost as an afterthought both as a matter of policymaking and as a focus of investment and exploration. Given the potential of natural gas for industrialisation, job creation and revenue generation for the government, this is a significant error that ought now to be corrected with all urgency.
“It falls to this Joint Committee of the House of Representatives to articulate the way forward and to do so, taking into account the concerns of all the stakeholders and the expectations of the Nigerian people.
“The Public Hearing we have gathered for today is an important part of the Joint Committee’s assignment. It is also an opportunity for stakeholders from across the oil and gas sector and the country to present information, and contribute ideas that will help the Joint Committee arrive at the proper conclusions and propose effective solutions.
“This Public Hearing ought to have happened and the Joint Committee’s assignment should have been completed long before now. However, we have had to adjust plans and make modifications to accommodate the new realities imposed due to the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Nonetheless I am certain that the assignment will shortly be completed, and a report presented to the House for consideration and adoption,” he said.
Earlier in an opening remark, the lead chairman of the Joint Committee, Rep. Nicholas Mutu, who chairs the Committee on Gas Resources, said the public hearing was an opportunity to offer practical suggestions for a structured bouquet of incentives that would attract investors to the sector and provide access to finance and profit-sharing.
He said: “Nigeria’s enormous gas reserves demand a robust public policy to drive gas development and boost the Nigerian economy, create jobs, stimulate incomes for gas value-chain resources and earn revenue for the government.”
On his part, one of the co-chairmen of the Joint Committee, Rep. Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya, who heads the Committee on Petroleum (downstream), thanked the Speaker for attending the event and promised that the panel would do a diligent job.