Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has bemoaned the situation where some rich personalities enrich themselves with the country’s oil resources at the expense of the masses.
This is as he stated that the situation has led Nigeria into dependency in oil importation despite being one of the largest oil producing countries in the world.
He stated this during the National Stakeholders Summit on Petroleum Industry Reforms organised by the House Committee on Petroleum in Abuja on Monday.
The Speaker also decried Nigeria’s inability to maximize its potentials in the oil and gas as well as the revenue generated from the sector.
According to Dogara, “Nigeria is one of the richest petroleum regions of the world. Paradoxically, it has never been able to maximize effectively its immense oil and gas potentialities and the revenue accruing from it.
Dogara said, “The downstream operates in a state of almost continuous malfunction, and, for years, has been characterized by comatose refineries and an inefficient downstream.
“Nigeria is both one of the world’s largest producers of crude oil, and one of the world’s leading importers of petroleum products, a dependency that has enriched the elite at the expense of the increasingly impoverished masses.
“Decades after the advent of Nigeria’s petroleum industry, problems which led to host community agitation remain unaddressed and highly politicized, and the question of the extent to which revenues from the industry should be shared among the three tiers of government and the people remain, as do the content and limits of corporate social responsibility.
“These are all crucial issues that should be addressed to guarantee and ensure a stable polity in Nigeria.
“These examples represent just a few of the present problems of Nigeria’s petroleum industry, and are reflective of an industry that is in critical need of total restructuring, which can only be commenced through the enactment of laws that provide the legal framework that will promote the emergence of an optimal petroleum industry.
“The existing laws are outdated, anachronistic, and out-of-sync with international best practices and current technological advances for decades, with the primary laws being the Petroleum Act of 1969, and the Petroleum Profits Tax Act, 1958.”