Nigeria cancels discretionary allocation of oil blocks

Jun 24, 2004 02:00 AM

Citing his administration's cardinal policies of transparency, openness and accountability, President Olusegun Obasanjo has cancelled the discretionary allocation of oil blocks to some prospecting companies.
While the receiving the Managing Director of Nexen Petroleum International of Canada, Mr Richard Owens at the State House, Obasanjo said that the discretionary allocation policy was unacceptable to the Federal Government. He said the policy had been changed to competitive open bidding based on equity sharing of 50 % for government, 40 % for the technical partners and 10 % for the indigenous company. Owens had told the President that his company had a longstanding relationship with Nigeria and desired to continue doing business in the country.

Also at a forum with stakeholders in the building materials sector, Obasanjo said that the government was determined to generate employment in all areas, create wealth and eradicate poverty.
The government, he said, would concentrate on cement, ceramic, galvanised iron roofing sheets, fiber cement, aluminium roofing sheets and iron rods production. Others are nail, wire, bolts and nuts, plywood and particle boards, cables and paints.

In another development, the lack of a gas policy in Nigeria is said to be hampering the take off of the West African Gas Pipelines Project in which Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic are major players.
The World Bank, which is also a stakeholder in the project, is reportedly asking Nigeria to present its gas policy to it to enable it take crucial decision on the project. This was disclosed in Warri, Delta State by the Chairman of the House of Representatives' Committee on Gas, Mrs Mercy Almona Isei.

The panel was on tour of oil companies in Warri and its environs to enable the members gather relevant data guide it in its activities.
Said Isei: "We are worried that the issue of gas policy for Nigeria is still moving at a slow pace. We have had one year and the gas policy issue is still at the board meeting level. We are not happy with the slow pace. The West African Gas project, in which the World Bank is playing a role, they (World Bank) are worried that Nigeria has not presented its gas policy."
She, therefore, urged ministries and other authorities involved in the articulation of the gas policy to hasten works on it so that a bill could be presented to the House for passage into law.

Source: Guardian Newspapers
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