The former Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, has stated that the oil and gas industry has its disadvantages as it distracts Nigerians who are looking for quick oil money. He said the COVID-19 impact on the oil industry has given Nigeria time to refocus as there's a need to get people back to the farm.
According to Kachikwu, Agriculture should be one of the focal points of Nigeria and President Muhammad Buhari is already investing in the agriculture sector. He made this known while addressing the level of impact coronavirus has on the oil industry. Kachikwu stated that the long duration before the eradication of COVID-19 gives the country more time to refocus its attention.
"What this does for us, if we use the time well, is that it will help us intensely refocus our attention to other sectors apart from the petroleum sector, and invest massively in mechanized agriculture, services, tourism, etc. The oil and gas sector has its disadvantages too. It is creating a lot of pollution, shutting down a lot of farms and sometimes distracting young people from careers, because everyone wants a quick oil return.
"Agriculture should be one of the focal points of this country because we have massive landmass. President Buhari has intensely refocused Government investment attention on agriculture and infrastructure. We need to get people back to farms. We need to build modern infrastructure." Kachikwu said.
Kachikwu setup new oil service venture
Despite advising Nigerians to go back to the farm, Kachikwu has no plans to head in the same direction. He is planning to establish an energy venture, Afric Energy as well as lecture at institutions, "One passion that I have is intellectual, so going into institutions to share thoughts and learn along with people, as talked about already, is part of my ventures.
"Another is Afric Energy, a venture that we are floating and hoping to grow. The whole idea is to look at Africa across the board and decide what kind of consultancy models we can bring to address some of the immediate problems that we see across the African oil sector.
"Having served as both the President of OPEC and three-time President of APPO, I aim to work with some of my former African petroleum sector Ministers who are still there to help them solidify the plans that they have." Kachikwu disclosed.
Kachikwu advises FG on how to improve petroleum industry
Kachikwu rolled out some guidelines that he believes could improve the petroleum industry in Nigeria. While listing some things that President Muhammadu Buhari's administration must undertake to fix the industry, Kachikwu revealed the government has been unable to pass some key bills.
According to Kachikwu, Nigeria must consider the regulatory approach, which has to do with the passage of some key bills like the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), "One approach is regulatory. We haven’t been able to pass some key bills; for example, the “Petroleum Industry Bill.” The time has come to focus attention on this because the absence of an adequate regulatory environment creates uncertainties among investors.
"I am hoping that during this second tenure of President Buhari, the attention will be on passing the PIB in whatever form that they believe is best for the country. A lot of work has been done in the last 2 Assemblies, and it is now time to bring this to a conclusion. The second approach is to set policies that create a competitive environment in the energy sector. By this, I mean that we need to diversify investment into petrochemicals, refineries, and creating necessary storage infrastructure.
"The third and final is to begin our plan for the heydays of oil. It is clear that oil production as is seen today will not be there forever. The challenges posed by new technology, environmental regulatory controls, global consumption behavioral patterns, and coming new world economic order makes it imperative for us to begin to investigate an economic model that is not completely dependent on oil. This is the drawing board that we all have to focus on." Kachikwu said in a Nairametrics interview.