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Tinubu actively seeking ways to grow foreign reserves, stabilise Naira – Aide

A presidential aide, Mrs. Olu Verheijen, says President Bola Tinubu’s administration is actively seeking ways to grow the nation’s foreign reserves to stabilise the naira and economy.

Verheijen, Special Adviser to the President on Energy, said this in her presentation at the Ministerial Press Briefing on Friday in Abuja.

The event was organised by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris.

Verheijen said the government was committed to accelerating economic growth and diversifying the economy for the benefit of all Nigerians.

This, she said, required timely, credible, clear, and consistent policies.

According to her, the country is facing a revenue crisis that is impacting all Nigerians.

She described the oil and gas sector as critical to the country’s ability to accelerate economic growth, adding that the current oil and gas production and investment levels fell significantly short of the country’s potential.

The aide said since 2016, Nigeria has only accounted for four percent of Africa’s total oil and gas investments, despite possessing 38 percent of the continent’s hydrocarbon reserves.

She expressed assurance of the president’s determination to reverse the trend and take decisive steps to ensure a conducive business climate and reposition Nigeria as a preferred investment destination.

“Tinubu issued a Presidential Directive to streamline and clarify the scope of the two regulators in the petroleum sector to provide certainty and create a conducive business environment.

“He also directed the National Security Adviser and me to coordinate enhanced security measures in the Niger Delta.

“Owing to this directive, the pipelines that had been repeatedly vandalised are now enjoying improved uptime; availability has practically doubled since these directives were implemented.

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“This has translated to increased liquids of over 200,000 barrels per day being transported over the last six months.

“It has increased the availability of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train One to Six from 57 percent in 2023 to 70 percent in the first quarter of 2024,” she said.

She further explained that Tinubu had also introduced fiscal incentives to deepen compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) penetration.

Verheijen said these incentives were designed to ease the impact of fuel subsidies on transportation costs and enable the displacement of Premium Motor Spirit and Diesel.

She said that following extensive engagements, analysis, and bench-marking with industry operators and regulators, the President had initiated amendments to primary legislation to introduce fiscal incentives, reduce project execution timelines, and promote cost efficiency.

“However, recognising the urgency to accelerate investments to stabilise the economy, Tinubu executed policy directives to clearly signal the policy direction of this administration to both the market and regulators.

“The Policy Directives include Fiscal Incentives for Non-Associated Gas (NAG), Midstream and Deepwater Oil and Gas Developments, Streamlining of Contracting Processes, Procedures, and Timelines, and Local Content Practice Reform.

“Details on the role of each stakeholder are contained in the policy directives, which have been gazetted and will be distributed shortly,” she said.

On coordination, the aide said she would play a coordinating role in ensuring implementation within the timelines stipulated in the directives.

She promised to follow up on the implementation of the directives and, in return, expects the operators to commit to their promises to make the desired investments.

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“This administration is focused on enabling transformational economic opportunities to lift millions of hardworking Nigerians out of poverty,” Verheijen said. (NAN)

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