The federal government plans to spend $10billion to develop Niger Delta Infrastructure, Minister of State (Petroleum) Ibe Kachikwu said yesterday.
He also said to address the issues confronting the oil bearing region, President Muhammadu Buhari is reviewing the application of the 13 per cent derivation allocated to the region.
Kachikwu spoke to reporters after the President launched the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Roadmap tagged “The 7 Big Wins.”
Speaking during the public presentation of the programme at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Buhari said: “Therefore, the task before the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is to maximise the potentials and opportunities across the whole range of the oil and gas industry to stimulate our economy in spite of the current challenges.”
He admitted that the industry remained critical to the economy in spite of her challenges.
He stressed that the “golden era of high oil prices may not be here now, but oil and gas resources still remain the most immediate and practical keys out of our present economic crisis”.
“ The Oil and Gas still remain a critical enabler for the successful implementation of our budget as well as the source of funds for laying a strong foundation for a new and more diversified economy.”
Kachikwu said: “The president is also reviewing the proposal we gave him to look at how the 13 per cent derivation is applied. Right now it is a budgeting tool for state governments. We are going to be appealing to them to begin to put that into the core areas of the oil producing communities. And not just see it as a budgeting number.”
According to him, in order to tackle the lingering crisis in the region, the president, the minister from the states and security chiefs would on Tuesday meet with about 50 leaders of the Niger Delta.
He noted that the $10 billion infrastructure rebirth programmes in the region will soon be launched, but the fund will be released in installment.
The cash, he said would not come strictly from the Federal Government,” but also from individuals, interested international organisations and state governments.”
Kachikwu said Niger Delta State governors would meet to decide which cross border infrastructure the fund would be expended on.
He said: “ It is a fact that governors will have to come together from the region to begin to look at cross state invests whether there will be railways, whether there will be power facilities, whether there will be specialist hospitals or whatever.
“But right now there is a side lowing of investment in the region and that is not helping the region. So, we are going to be pulling in NNPC and groups like that and ensure that we look at cross boarder investment. In the region .”
Kachikwu said that government was also looking into the amnesty programme in view to its wind up in the next one year.
He said that the issue with the programme is that people have taken it to be “a social collection point… We are going to be looking at issues like coastal control and Niger Delta subsidiary policing and para military types of organization.”
The minister added that the government would also address the issue of funding for those that are ready to go into private businesses.
The 7 Big Wins were Policy and Regulation, Business Environment and Investment Drive, Gas Revolution, Refineries and Local Production capacity, Niger Delta and Security, Transparency and Efficiency and Stakeholder Management & International Co-ordination.
Owing to the plans to remove the crisis in the region, the ministry has now targeted zero closure of oil facilities by next year, unless for technical challenges.
Kachikwu said the issue of security in the Niger Delta will cease being the responsibility of the military to become to that of the oil companies as in line with international practices.
The oil firms, according to him, will institute how they would work with the communities to guard their production facilities.
He said the president had agreed to set up a specialised petroleum force that is going to draw the headlines of the security services and will be provided resources that will be technology driven to be positioned to respond to the request of the oil companies.
Kachikwu is optimistic that there will soon be explosion of investments in the oil sector, saying there is the prospect that the sector has potential to scale up production from the present 2.2 million per day (md/d) in normal situations to target 3mb/d.
On transparency in the oil sector, he said that the adoption of Treasury Single Account (TSA) has assisted to tackle corruption in the industry by bringing all its funds into one account.
Kachikwu added that “the fact that we have saved over $1 billion through the DSP programme is something.” The Nation