The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, has stated that the House investigation of the oil swap agreement contract of the NNPC is not aimed at witch-hunting any person but aimed at reviewing and repositioning the oil sector to make it more productive.
Speaking while declaring a public hearing by the House Ad-Hoc Committee investigating the Oil Swap Agreement contract of the NNPC open at the National Assembly, Dogara said it has become imperative, with the free fall of price of crude oil in the international market, to improve on the available resources and utilise the oil to drive the economy in order to stimulate development in the country.
He explained, “Our goal here is not to witch-hunt, no! It is essentially a diagnostic review with the aim of repositioning the oil sector to perform its role as a major primer of the nation’s development. The issue of transparency in the management of the oil sector considering its significance to the economy of Nigeria is at the very heart of our nation’s development challenge, especially at this time of dwindling revenue resulting from the continued drop in oil prices.
“As at yesterday, oil, I understand, was trading at $28 dollar from about $114 it traded as at September, 2014. You don’t have to be an economist to observe that if we do not improve on the management of available resources and effective utilsation of oil/petroleum resources to drive the economy, our developmental aspirations will continue to emaciate.
“It is in recognition of this pivotal role which the oil sector plays in aiding development that the present House of Representatives decided to place enormous emphasis on the improvement of the sector especially, and to insist on the transparent, professional, and efficient management of all resources. This is the only way the Change Agenda of this administration can be actualise.”
He further explained that the essence of the investigation is to expose abuses and losses to the Nigerian nation with a view to revitalise the sector to make it more efficient and transparency driven, against the backdrop that public investment that has been made in the oil sector and the returns Nigerians have enjoyed from the sector between 2010 to date do not tally and other issues surrounding the nation’s oil management company, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“It is hard to put in words the level of frustration Nigerians have had to face with the NNPC and indeed the oil industry; the impact of this on the wider economy and the level of inefficiency in the entire energy value chain. We have an opportunity now to right the wrongs of the past. It starts from our doing a thorough job of this assignment.
“If we could pause to imagine for one moment what the effect of a vibrant oil sector driven by efficiency and innovation, would mean to the Nigeria energy sector, power, textile industry, rice mills, the manufacturing start-ups, assembly plants, manufacturing, agribusiness development in general, aviation, communication, cost of doing business, insecurity, service delivery, technology adoption, life expectancy of Nigerians both in the rural and urban areas, SMEs and unemployment, etc. The implications and ramifications are immense, indeed they are enormous. Therefore, we cannot afford to fail, Nigerians will not afford half measures.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola has expressed dissatisfaction at the attack on the country’s gas pipeline by suspected vandals over the weekend.