By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has assured investors who are willing and ready to invest into the Nigerian economy of adequate protection and support.
The Senate President spoke while playing host to a delegation of the Hyundai Engineering Company led by its President/CEO, Chang Hag Kim.
Lawan told his guests who signified interest in investing in oil and gas and power sectors that they came right on time.
“On the issue of oil and gas sector which you have interest, you have come at the right time.
“The National Assembly will start working on the Petroleum Industry Bill next year and it is our desire to produce a legislation that will be favourable not only to our country where the endowment of oil and gas is but also the investors likewise.
“We believe we have a lot of gas resources. Probably we can describe Nigeria more of a gas country than even oil and of course we believe that we need a lot of Foreign Direct Investment into this sector of our economy and we can only do so, bring you in and retain you, when we have legislation that supports you as well,” Lawan said.
Senator Lawan said the amendment to the Production Sharing Contract Act that was passed by the National Assembly last month was not intended to reduce the profit margins of the International Oil Companies (IOCs).
“We did that not to reduce the margin of profit for the IOCs. We did so because it was necessary and imperative to carry out the amendment because it was long overdue.
“That amendment should have been done since 2003. And we were very conscious of the fact that we need to keep our friends, the businesses that are here, happy.
“We need to create and sustain a very competitive oil industry environment for you to stay.
“So we did the amendment to actually get better deal for Nigeria our country from the endowment, the oil and gas that we have, but also in the process protect the business interest of the International Oil Companies that are here.
“I said you have come at the right time because when we will work on the Petroleum Industry Bill from early next year, we will engage the industry players. We will listen to people like you. What are those things, those legislations or policies that will make you perform optimally here.
“We will not sacrifice the necessary concessions that we will have to make for investors to stay around and invest. We have a lot to gain when we work together than probably when we try to take maximally the disadvantage of those who should be supported to invest.
“We will be working with the International Oil Companies and investors like you if you have intention to invest. Nigeria is a destination of choice. You are at the right place.
“The executive arm of government will always think of giving concessions, giving incentives and those at the other side of government, the legislature where we belong, will ensure that we provide legislations that will protect your investment and that will also create an environment for you to earn profits because that is the essence of business.
Lawan said Nigeria’s power sector which is yet facing serious challenges needs to be fixed.
“The power sector in Nigeria needs to be fixed. We are working hard to identify the issues, the challenges that we face but also get genuine and committed investors who will invest in the power sector. That require some serious policy declaration and some legislations.
“We have indicated if we have to amend the power reforms Act of 2005 to support investors, we will, because this is a country of over 200 million people. The market is there. It’s huge but probably we are facing some challenges that until we are able to fix them through legislations or change the policies, we may continue to have issues,” Lawan said.