By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has declared that Africa needs a united front in the global energy discuss, stating that the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO), is the best institution to convene those conversations.
Speaking on Monday at the opening ceremony of the Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation in Abuja, Osinbajo noted that a lot of progress has been made since the last APPO meeting.
The Special Guest of Honour, stressed that increased synergy will no doubt help mobilise the investments needed to facilitate and to deliver major infrastructures required by the industry, such as trans-border gas and oil pipelines, joint refineries, gas plants and so on.
According to him, “The Oil and Gas Industry as you know, is very capital intensive. As individual countries, we often do not have the resources required to make the necessary investments to grow the industry. By serving as a platform for increased collaboration and cooperation among member countries, the APPO will go a long way towards helping overcome these financial challenges”.
Furthermore, Osinbajo remarked that the decision to reassess the effectiveness of the organisation and to embark on significant reforms which came from within the organisation itself, is commendable and assured that Nigeria will give APPO all the support it needs to realize it’s vision of becoming the world’s major institution of reference and the pride of Africa.
“I urge you to consider all the pertinent issues and to put the collective interest ahead of all other issues. I am confident that a revitalized APPO will contribute tremendously to the development of the African Oil and Gas Industry, particularly now that Africa is becoming a major global player in the sector” he said.
He commended the new APPO President, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu for his efforts towards reforming the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry, adding that Nigeria, Kachikwu and his team, will exceed expectations regarding the APPO reform programme.
The Vice President called on APPO, to seriously look beyond public sector or government ownership of its activities and tap into private sector competencies and models to a greater degree.
While speaking on the APPO fund, he noted that the financial model of the fund may need some remodelling after similar institutions that have succeeded, such as the OPEC fund and urged APPO open up its funds to accommodate non-member countries and private institutions.
Osinbajo further called on African countries to redouble their efforts to achieve economic diversification away from the dangerous over-dependence on oil and to invest as much as possible of today’s oil and gas revenues in the infrastructure and human capital, that will underpin future economic growth and development.
On his part, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and new APPO President, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said that growth in the oil sector can only be possible if the African countries can adopt the interdependence approach, hold hands and find a way to support each other.
He explained that the Extraordinary session will see to the review of the work that the sub-technical team has put together to help drive the change agenda so as to get a clear direction.
He noted also that the session will see to the consideration of the 2018/2019 APPO budget.
The opening ceremony also included the handover by the former APPO President, Michel Boukar to Nigeria’s Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, as the new APPO President.