By Nuel Suji, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged support for indigenous companies operating in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, assuring them of his administration of protection.
Buhari who spoke at a meeting with members of the Independent Petroleum Producers Association in the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, noted the determination of indigenous firms to increase their participation in the sector.
He promised to do all within his powers to address the challenges, which they currently face.
The President directed the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to work more closely with the indigenous oil producers to resolve the problems confronting them.
According to the President, “We have the manpower for a more effective participation in our oil industry. We will give you all possible encouragement. You certainly won’t be ignored under my leadership,” President Buhari told members of the association which represents about 20 Nigerian companies operating mainly on onshore fields.
The President particularly assured the Nigerian oil producers that the present administration will take appropriate actions to maintain and enhance security in their areas of operation, noting that better security will help to lower production costs, which, he said, had become unnecessarily high in the country.
Austin Avuru, who spoke on behalf of the Nigerian oil producers, told the President of challenges currently being faced by the group such as security and the funding of joint ventures with the NNPC.
He told the President that the indigenous oil producers were already making significant contributions to the development of the Nigerian economy and could do more with the support of the present administration.
Also Wednesday in Abuja, President Buhari commended ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation to generate more revenue through its various agencies.
Buhari, who spoke at the end of a briefing by Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, thanked her for “a very good presentation” and promised that his government will support the Ministry’s activities.
The Permanent Secretary presented a number of proposals to the President, including the easing of visas for tourists and the establishment of a tourism development fund.