Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a qualified minister of petroleum in his next cabinet, unlike in the past where the ministry did not had a direct minister.
This plea was contained in the media briefing on the state of the economy by the LCCI in Lagos, Wednesday.
While applauding the President on the recent change in the leadership of NNPC as a way of injecting new and fresh ideas into the corporation, the Chamber urged the President to shop for a seasoned technocrat with the requisite experience and knowledge of petroleum industry to serve as the minister of petroleum, as against a regular politician.
Babatunde Paul Ruwase, president, LCCI, while explaining the Chamber’s position, said the Chamber was deeply concerned and worried about the slow pace of the much-needed reforms in the oil and gas industry.
According to Ruwase, the much advocated reforms in the industry would accelerate the much-needed growth in the industry, thereby opening the industry to more investments.
“We believe that the industry would grow better under a technocrat and seasoned petroleum minister and help accelerate the growth of the economy,” Ruwase said.
Having a qualified minister of petroleum, the Chamber believed, would better coordinate the activities of the industry much better than “just a minister of state for petroleum.”
The Chamber also decried President Buhari’s refusal to sign the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law, which would have paved the way for clarity, accountability and transparency in the industry thereby paving way for more foreign direct investment (FDI).
The signing of PIB into law holds a significant role into the petroleum industry, as there would be checks and balances among the leadership of the sector.
For the refineries, the Chamber called on the President to intensify his efforts at attracting private investments in refineries and ensuring the total overhauling of the four refineries so as to put them back on track of production.