The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said the on-going recession rocking the nation can be linked to the activities of the Niger-Delta militants last year.
He stated this on Monday while delivering his opening remarks at an investigative hearing on the alleged violation of the Public Procurement Act and abuses of the Amnesty Programme jointly organized by the House of Representatives Committees on Public Procurement and Niger Delta Affairs.
Dogara said that in 2016, the intense militancy activities that raged in the Niger Delta region and the rising security risks which hindered the exploration of oil and economic activities in the region, resulted in a drastic reduction in Nigeria’s oil production capacity and revenues; foreign direct investment and the dwindling of the nation’s economy.
He noted that the activities of militants cost Nigeria, the giant of Africa, to lose its position as the largest producer and exporter of oil in the African continent.
Dogara said there was an urgent need to take necessary steps to solve the problems of increasing loss of revenue accruable to the federal government which is estimated to be between $50 billion and $100 billion; and the loss of about 3000 MW of electricity due to the renewed tension in the region. He said this can be achieved through the restoration of the Amnesty programme.
The Speaker urged all stakeholders and participants in the public hearing to be open-minded, honest and constructive in their contributions, adding that the Green Chambers expects the Joint Committee to take into consideration the submissions and positions presented by stakeholders in arriving at its recommendations to the House.
He said: “Your participation in this Hearing as stakeholders, will not only assist the House of Representatives in the discharge of its constitutional duties, but also contribute to the on-going efforts to move Nigeria’s economy out of Recession.
“It is worthy of note that the activities of the militants cost, Nigeria, the giant of Africa, to lose its position as the largest producer and exporter of oil in the African continent.
“According to Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Nigeria lost between $50 billion and $100 billion in oil revenues to militant attacks on installations in 2016. At a point, he said, the attacks cut production to 1.2 million barrels a day — a loss of 1 million barrels a day.
“Indeed Nigeria lost about 3,000 MW of electricity to militancy activities in the Niger Delta, since then, according to Raji Fashola (SAN) – the Hon Minister of Works, Power, and Housing.
“As representatives of the people, the House noted the urgent need to take necessary steps to solve these problems, and restore the Amnesty programme to the ideals for which it was set up
“Let me use this opportunity to state that a more permanent solution which directly empowers the areas and stakeholders where oil and gas is produced should be instituted in order to achieve better fiscal, social and environmental equity.
It is in this regard, that we welcome the recent announcement of the Hon Minister of State, Petroleum, of the unveiling of a 20-point agenda aimed at instituting permanent peace in the oil-producing region.
“I urge all stakeholders and participants in this hearing to be open minded, honest and constructive in their contributions and we expect the Joint Committee to take into consideration the submissions and positions presented by stakeholders in arriving at its recommendations to the House.”