For Nigeria to record long term gains when oil prices eventually stabilise, experts have advised that the country must seize the opportunity of the current coronavirus pandemic to undertake the long-awaited reforms of the sector and a diversification of the economy.
These submissions, among others, were the resolutions at the maiden webinar series on Post COVID-19 Petroleum Agenda for Nigeria (PoCoPAN) hosted by OrderPaper Nigeria on April 27.
The event tagged ‘COVID-19 Opportunity for Petroleum Reforms in Nigeria’ was conveyed to aggregate thoughts on the petroleum sector crisis and how Nigeria can benefit from the misfortune of COVID-19.
The guest speakers – Mr. Joe Nwakwue (petroleum industry expert and former government energy advisor) and Mr. Tope Fasua (economist and public policy analyst) – was organised in collaboration with Publish What You Pay Nigeria and DotCivics.
In an outcome document signed by Oke Epia, Executive Director, OrderPaper Nigeria, and Convener, PoCoPAN, the experts noted that oil price stabilisation will occur once the global economy picks up.
Participants at event were from the petroleum industry, the legislature, the academia, civil society organisations, and the media, among others.
The participants submitted that “Crude oil price would eventually stabilise as global economy gradually picks up (this is due to the fact that price volatility is an inherent characteristic of the Oil and Gas industry).
There is however, a pervasive concern that the nation may not learn from this present experience based on patterns deduced from previous oil price crash scenarios.
The present pandemic-induced economic crisis occasioned by the fall in crude oil price is as a result of obsolete and inappropriate policies that regulate the petroleum industry; lack of will by government to use resources from Oil and Gas to facilitate development of industry value chain & other sectors of the economy; over-dependence on foreign technology; and exportation of raw materials rather than refined products.