Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday, approved the Nigerian Petroleum Policy, which is aimed at improving efficiency in the oil industry.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The approval of the policy, he said, was coming about three weeks after the National Gas Policy was considered and approved.
The minister said if well executed, the document would fundamentally take the change process in the oil and gas industry that started in 2015 to its logical conclusion in the next couple of years.
Kachikwu stated, “Today’s policy focused on oil and the imperative needed to change the policy in the oil sector. It dealt with certain fundamentals; we are already pursuing some of the policy. We are working assiduously to exit the importation of fuel in 2019 and capture the cash call change we have done, which enables the sector to fund itself through incremental volumes.
“It captures the reorganisation in the NNPC for efficiency and enables accountability. It captures the issues in the Niger Delta and what we need to do as a government to focus on stability and consistency in the sector.
“It is a very comprehensive 100-page document that deals with all aspects in the industry. The last time this was done was in 2007 and it has been 10 years and you are aware that the dynamics of the oil industry has changed dramatically.”
The minister added, “Apart from the fact of fluidity in pricing and uncertainty in terms of the price regime in crude, we are pushing for a refining processing environment and move away from exporting as it were to refining petroleum products. That is one change you will see.
“Secondly, how we sell our crude is going to be looked at. There is a lot of geographical market we need to look at long-term contracting and sales as opposed to the systemic contracting we have been doing.”
According to him, as part of efforts to end fuel importation by 2019, he currently chairs a steering committee, while there is a technical committee team already set up and headed by the Chief Operating Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The minister explained that series of meetings had been held with individuals who were willing to invest in the refineries.
He added, “I need to state this clearly that this is not a sale, this is not a concession, this is a financing scheme and there are over 30 people who have indicated interest in that financing. They are going to go through the usual due process mechanism to see who qualifies for that financing.
“What we have resolved, however, which we have at least an understanding, is that each of the refineries will be repaired by the individual companies that built the refineries.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the council received the National Employment Policy to replace the one that had been in use since 2002.
He said the policy was reviewed in 2013 with technical assistance from the International Labour Organisation and major stakeholders like employers and workers’ unions.
On the issue of the new minimum wage, the minister said the government had approved a secretariat domiciled at the National Council for Salaries and Wages Commission.
He said, “We have the Minister of Labour and Employment as the deputy chairman, the Minister of Finance, and Minister of Budget and National Planning as members. The only appointee, which is being awaited now, is the chairman; and we have concluded the process for the nomination. We are waiting for the requisite approval.
“The labour centres, that is the NLC and TUC, have yet to bring their nominations. That is on the workers’ side. On the employers’ side, you know we have like sub-units. We have the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Assembly, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, and the Small and Medium-scale Industry Association.
“These groups will give us nominations. So, we are waiting. Once these nominations are in place, the President will now inaugurate the committee.”
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the ministry presented the National Social Protection Policy to the council.
According to her, the policy is a framework that seeks to provide social justice, equity and inclusive growth, using a transformative mechanism for mitigating poverty and unemployment in Nigeria.
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