The Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Ezra DiKki, has advocated for the immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in Nigeria for investors to take advantage of the huge potentials in the Oil and Gas sector to further open up the country’s economy.
The Head of Nigeria’s Privatisation bureau while speaking in Abuja, noted If liberalized investors would be confident to participate in oil exploration, refining and other associated services, with multiplier effects in employment generation and general growth in the economy.
The BPE boss expressed delight with the transmission of the eight reform Bills by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to the National Assembly and expressed optimism that the Bills would be passed within this Legislative year.
While noting that the transport sector was another area with huge benefit for the. Nigerian economy, Dikki noted that when the reform bills are passed it would open up investments in road transport, inland waterways and railways
He said Nigeria at present has 193,000 kilometres of Federal roads which would broken into concession lots.
“When these Bills are passed, roads will be concessioned and their maintenance done by concessionaires as against the present practice of depending on the Federal budget”.
“The inefficient transport delivery system in the country at present, adds to the cost of doing business in Nigeria. When these Bills are passed, there will be massive investments in the sector. Now that the Bills are with the National Assembly, I believe they would be passed before the tenure of the seventh National Assembly expires in June 2015. I appeal to investors to take advantage of the opportunity and come forward to invest in the sector”, he said.
He said that all the reforms carried out by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), such as in telecoms, power and pensions have been remarkable and have impacted positively on the Nigerian economy.
“Recall that before the reforms in telecoms, Nigeria had 450,000 fixed lines but at present, there are 135million GSM lines. An investment of about $235bn is planned by investors to keep pace with the evolving technology in the sector. For the pension reform, life has now become easier for pensioners in Nigeria. About N4trn pension funds enable banks to give long-term loans. For power, Nigerians are experiencing stable power supply while the generation companies have so far invested N200-N300 million to upgrade infrastructure”, Dikki stated.
He regretted the dwindling oil price in the global market and the rising exchange rate which will squeeze the Nigerian economy slightly saying that as a resilient economy, Nigeria will come out of the troubled times.