Wednesday, March 2, 2011

‘PIB to Push Nigeria’s Oil Revenue to $680bn’

Diezani Alison-Madueke, Petroleum Resources Minister

Nigeria’s annual revenue from oil and gas operations in the country is expected to shoot up to about $680 billion when the much-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed into law.

This is just as the federal government has attributed the boost in Nigeria’s average earnings which currently stand at over $282 million per day from crude oil based on the combined daily production figure of crude and condensate to the success of the Amnesty Programme.

It also hinted that it would propel an articulate plan to ensure that Nigeria attains the status of a leading oil and gas hub on the African continent through an upgrade and rebirth of critical gas based industrialisation around the country.

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, made the disclosures Tuesday at the ongoing nationwide Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential rally in Lagos.

In a statement issued by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, the minister said that the ministry would on behalf of the government execute some binding Memo-randa of Understanding (MoUs) with a consortium of international oil and gas firms for the construction of a petrochemical plant and some fertiliser processing plants in Lagos and some other parts of the country valued at over $20 billion.

Diezani said that the signing of the PIB will move Nigerian businessmen and women into the commanding heights of the oil and gas industry in the country.

According to her: “Petrochem-ical plants mean fertiliser plants that will increase our agriculture and food production and methanol plants that will boost industrial production with a combined initial investment of about $20 billion that will result in the creation of over 300,000 jobs across the nation.”

The minister also stated that the establishment of two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants in Olokola, Ogun and Ondo States as well as Brass LNG in Bayelsa State will create over 7,000 jobs while injecting over $1 billion into the host communities.

THISDAY gathered at the recently concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference 2011 (NOG11) that the final investment decision on the Brass LNG will likely be taken within the second quarter of 2011.

Sources hinted that the outcome of the decision will likely be influenced by the underlying politics of the oil and gas industry, statutory frameworks as well as the passage of the PIB by the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, Jonathan has assured Lagosians that his administration would not abdicate its responsibility to Lagos State and vowed to ensure the dream of building it into one of the world’s mega cities materialises.

The President, who underscored the importance of the state to the success of Vision 20:2020 while flagging off his campaign rally at the TBS, Lagos, said that in terms of rebuilding the economy and commerce, the state was too strategic, adding that the federal government would address its economic, security and commercial issues.

He also promised to review and if necessary, set up another committee to review federal government properties in Lagos and hand over those they should to the state and retain those that should be in possession of the federal government.

Vice President, Namadi Sambo had earlier npoted that that the state should not continue to be in the hands of the opposition as there were many projects the federal government would have executed in Lagos State but the party in control of the state was not ready to have them.

Earlier during visit the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the president had told him that the party had to take out a whole day to conduct its rally in Lagos because of its importance to them and other political parties.

Responding, Akiolu praised Jonathan as a shinning star and prayed that God should see him through in his quest to be President in 2011, adding, "You are a man of your words and your star is bright. I wish you well”

The royal father, who lauded Jonathan for his commitment to free and fair elections, told him that the people of Lagos know who to vote as governor and who to vote as president but cautioned that nothing against the interest of Lagosians should be done by any one.

Akiolu, who said he would spill his last drop of blood to protect the interest of Lagosians also called for the return of certain properties to the state as well as maintenance work to be carried out on federal government interests in the state.

Other speakers at the rally included the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who told Jonathan that he has already won, pointing out that people only say history should not repeat itself when it is a bad situation.

He pointed out that he campaigned in the same place and won, noting that as Jonathan campaigned in the same venue, he will win and history will repeat itself.

Acting National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed appealed to the crowd to use their votes to ensure they come in properly into the PDP fold so that a people who run the state as business with more interest in over-taxation and collection of 10 per cent of proceeds would no longer be in charge.

Dr. Ade Dosunmu, who is the PDP flagbearer in the state condemned the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for allegedly running down the state.

Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga spoke on government programmes and plans while his Petroleum Resources counterpart, Diezani Alison-Madueke said that the government would build a petrochemical industry, two fertiliser plants and two five fertiliser blending plants that will create 300,000 jobs.

Aganga said the Nigerian economy, due to its adroit management, was growing at 7.5 per cent and therefore one of the fastest growing in the world, adding that better result would be reaped from the micro economic policies of government. He assured that the 6.24 million votes of Lagos was for the PDP.

Minister of State for Power, Nuhu Wya spoke of the power programmes of the government which will lift industries in the state and the country.

Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State spoke on behalf of governors, who attended the rally, stating that they turned out in their numbers more than in any other place because of the importance of Lagos. He asked the people to support the party with their votes. Among dignitaries at the occasion were Chief Olabode George just released from prison after being convicted for financial impropriety, Chief Anthony Anenih, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim.

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