The OPEC agreement of higher oil prices and a long-term plan for production are spearheading Nigeria’s efforts to get its hydrocarbons sector back on track, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum has told Oxford Business Group (OBG).
Commenting in a wide-ranging interview with the global research and consultancy firm, Kachikwu said that the agreement made in December by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers to cut production with a view to stabilising prices was already yielding results for the country.
“The resurge in prices is a fundamental driver behind Nigeria’s push for investment as international oil companies are planning new projects in the country,” he told OBG.
“Since the agreement was made, external confidence in the country is higher, while the business environment here is improving.”
The full interview with Kachikwu will appear in The Report: Nigeria 2017, OBG’s forthcoming report on the country’s economy. The publication will also contain a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors, alongside contributions from leading personalities.
The minister also talked to OBG about the broad-based challenges that Nigeria faces in its bid to attract new investors, which he said ranged from militancy and corruption to multi-taxation.
“We are focusing on all of these issues, with a view to solving them and proving that Nigeria is more commercially viable than in the past,” he said. “Once we are able to do that and stabilise the situation we can achieve our long-term goal of boosting income.”
Kachikwu added that tackling militant activity in the Delta communities was a high priority for the government which would produce far-reaching benefits. “We can already see that our efforts to create a more enabling environment and increase stability are producing positive responses from investors,” he said.
Turning to the restructuring of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Kachikwu said the overhaul had been “fundamental in cutting down costs and improving efficiency”. As a result of the changes, he said, the corporation produced a profit in 2016 for the first time in 15 years.
The Report: Nigeria 2017 will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. It will be available in print and online.
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