Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Acting President of Nigeria, yesterday, blamed the woes in the petroleum sector, ease of doing business as well as the economy to corruption, insisting that it was ready to take the fight against corruption further in ensuring a safe business environment for investors.
The Acting President expressed confidence in the private sector led economy which he said is the key driver of any economy.
Osibanjo made this known at a visit to the Total’s Egina Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) in LADOL Free Zone, Lagos.
He opined that, “For us, it is not just about creating the right business environment but creating the right attitude. Part of the challenge of this is corruption and the graft that attends all of these kinds of activity.
“So far, the fight against corruption in Nigeria, has been to check grand corruption, namely, just going to the treasury, taking the money and sharing them. We have been able to stop that because you will not find the president signing off or asking the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to move out large sums of money.
“Every Nigerian knows that President Buhari will not do such a thing, and because we have been able to stop that corruption, we are investing, despite earning 60 percent less revenue, almost five times more than the previous government on infrastructure.
“We have not even got to a point where we will be looking at public service and people doing all sorts of things, that is next phase and that phase is important. This country can only work if we are able to deal with corruption. When people put their financial interest over what will benefit the entire nation, we are never going to be able to make progress. A project like this is able to be held up just because somebody is not granting approval.”
The acting President further explained that the present administration has laid the foundation for the Nigerian economy to grow, saying “the first is that we strongly believe that the Nigerian economy must be private sector lead. This project, for example, is a $16 billion project in naira terms that is about N5 trillion. The entire Nigerian budget is about N9 trillion and our spending on infrastructure, which is the largest in the history of Nigeria is N1.5 trillion. So it tells you that this project alone is several times more than the federal government spending on infrastructure. This is the story of developed economies that are private sector driven, as there is no way that government’s revenue can possibly satisfy the demand.”
Mr. Nicolas Terraz, the Managing Director, Total Upstream, Nigeria, represented by its Deputy Managing Director, Deepwater, Engr. Ahmadu-Kida Musa, in his own submission, stated the continue would continue to invest in Nigeria’s economy as it had invested over $10 billion in the last five years.
Engr. Ahmadu-Kida Musa, explained that the Egina project, a deepwater development project, was the largest investment project currently ongoing in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria, adding that “The project is expected to be completed in Q4-2018 within the initial budget of $16 billion.
“The Egina FPSO is a newly built spread moored FPSO, and will be connected through subsea production systems to 44 wells consisting of 21 oil producers and 23 water injector wells via umbilicals, flowlines and risers.”
“On plans to partner with the government on zero gas flaring, the project is designed such that there will be no routine gas flaring during normal operation as all the treated gas will be transported through the existing Akpo-Amenam pipeline to the Bonny NLNG plant.”
He noted that the project will add 200,000 barrels of oil per day to the production of the country, representing about 10 percent of Nigeria’s current total capacity.
While lauding the supports received from its partners, Chairman of LADOL, Mr. Ladi Jadesimi, stated that the achievement of the project was a pointer to the growth of local content and capacity of Nigeria’s operators in the oil and gas business as well as the economy of the country.
“LADOL has demonstrated that there are talents in Nigeria and ease of doing business is very much accommodating as well as encouraging. We have grown from how we started in 2001 and have made Nigeria a hub and opportunity for prospective businesses to come in. We will continue to grow our capacity and ensure that more projects are done in Nigeria order than encouraging capital flight.”