President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday that his administration would not rush reforms in the petroleum and gas industry, saying that reforms must be carefully thought out to serve the interests of Nigerians.
Speaking specifically on the much-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill, Buhari stated that discussions on it were ongoing and that the bill would only become a reality when Nigerians were assured of getting the best of benefits from the industry.
The President, who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, said this at the Presidential Villa when he played host to the recently-inaugurated executive committee members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers.
NUPENG, which was led by the National President, Williams Akporeha, had raised the issue of the PIB and how it was affecting the industry.
The visit was part of the union’s 40th anniversary celebrations and NUPENG also seized the opportunity to confer on Buhari the award of “Grand Comrade Productive Workers of Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry.”
NUPENG stated that it honoured the President for his “commitment and devotion to a new Nigeria that adequately protects and provides for the citizenry and earns global respect and recognition.”
However, it was Buhari’s position on industry reforms and the PIB that caught attention the more.
While admitting that the bill was important and would be pursued to become an Act, he maintained that he would not do so in a hurry.
The President said, “I fully agree with you that reforming the petroleum industry will unlock numerous untapped potential for the nation.
“However, these reforms must be well thought out and must have the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians as its core objective. Such reforms cannot and must not be rushed if we must get it right.
“We are still suffering from the effects of many legacy policies that were rushed and passed without fully appreciating the consequences the provisions embedded in them.
“Whatever decision we take now will impact either negatively or positively on generations to come.”