“Nigeria Has No Business With Energy Poverty” – Minister

The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo has stated that Nigeria should have nothing to do with energy poverty given her abundant proven gas reserve of over 208Tcf.

The Minister stated this in his address at a one-day Internal stakeholders’ Workshop, involving the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Agencies under its supervision in Abuja on Thursday, 22nd February, 2024.

In a Statement by Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, Deputy Director ( Press and Public Relations), the Minister noted that the, “Workshop is aimed at repositioning the Nigerian Gas Sector for optimal performance, in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda to Unlock our abundant Gas Resources for economic development and poverty eradication”

Thursday’s engagement with the internal stakeholders in the gas sector was a follow-up to an earlier one held with the external stakeholders which comprised the various Associations and Groups operating across the Gas Value Chain, on February 6th, 2024.

The engagement with the external stakeholders, according to the Minister provided a platform for him to hear and interface with them with a view to understanding the pain points of the Industry Operators.

Having heard from the industry operators, Ekpo stated that it was his expectation that as Policymakers, Regulators and Policy implementers the Ministry and her Agencies should internalize the feedback from the Stakeholders and Customers to proffer workable solutions to tackle the issues bedevilling the nation’s Gas sector, adding that, it was imperative to tackle these challenges head-on.

The Minister informed that, in a bid to ensure maximum performance and accountability in government, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, through the office of the Special Adviser on Policy and Coordination, had released the Presidential Priorities and Ministerial Deliverables for 2023 – 2027 to create a performance tracking mechanism for the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Agencies under his purview.

He said the theme for the Workshop “Harnessing Nigeria’s Proven Gas Reserves for Economic Growth and Development”, was apt and provided a platform to galvanize actions and take necessary steps to release Nigeria’s abundant gas reserves to accelerate industrialization and develop the economy for the good of the teeming population.

In a session with journalists, the Minister informed of the government’s effort to tackle the rise in the price of cooking gas. He said, as an incentive, the government had withdrawn all taxes and levies from importation of gas related equipment.

He added that there were interactions with critical sectors to ensure there was no exportation of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), stressing that all LPG products produced within the country would have to be domesticated, and when this is done, the volume would increase and the price will automatically crash.

He informed that he was in contact with the regulators, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA). “We are in a constant meeting, almost on a daily basis, and the producers of gas like Mobil, Chevron and Shell. So, there is that hope that things will turn around”

“It is part of it that we are having this engagement to know what is wrong and address it once and for all”

With regards to converting vehicles to CNG powered, the Minister recalled that a Presidential initiative was set up before the inauguration of the Ministers. “I am interfacing with them, and the committee is working to ensure that. We are meeting with the regulators on a daily basis in ensuring we crash the price”

In her presentation at the workshop, the Director of Gas in the Ministry, Mrs. Oluremi Komolafe, highlighted the submissions and expectations of the various associations and groups operating in the gas sector at the consultation meeting of 6th February, 2024 and the recommended solutions.

Other highlights of the workshop were presentations by the Heads of various Agencies of the Ministry and the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria as well as panel discussions where sectorial issues were discussed and solutions proffered.

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