Petroleum Ministry Presents, Defends N9.641bn Budget At National Assembly

Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri (R) with the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo (L) at the 2024 budget defence of the Ministry

By Miriam Humbe

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources led by the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri and the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo presented the Ministry’s budget of N9.641bn to the Joint Committees of Senate and House of Representatives on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream and Gas Resources) on Monday, 18th December, 2023.

This was contained in a statement signed on Tuesday by Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa (Mrs.), the
Deputy-Director, Press & Public Relations in the Ministry.

The statement said that this was part of the on-going presentation of 2023 budget implementation and 2024 budget defence by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to relevant National Assembly Committees.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Gas, Sen. Jarigbe Agom said it was their duty as a joint committee to ensure the effective allocation of resources for the advancement of the country’s petroleum sector.

Senator Agom said that, their oversight function was predicated on fostering transparency, efficiency and sustainable development within the Ministry, the NNPCL and its subsidiaries.

He urged all stakeholders to engage in open dialogue and provide insightful inputs that would contribute to the formulation of a budget that aligns with the national priorities.

The legislators raised a number of reservations about some inadequacies and shortcomings of the budget proposal.

Specifically, they frowned at the paltriness of the budget proposal as it didn’t capture the refineries and its failure to include other initiatives aimed at alleviating the sufferings of Nigerians occasioned by the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri explained that the Ministry’s 2024 budget proposal was a substantial improvement on the 2023 budget.

He also emphasized that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was more of a policy-driven Ministry and did not basically execute projects that addressed given concerns.

He cited the Host Communities Fund provided by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) targeted at addressing the concerns of oil producing communities.

The Minister explained further that government and indeed, the Ministry had a number of Agencies that were mandated to carry out different responsibilities while the Ministry provided policies that would guide the operations of the companies that are doing business in the oil and gas industry.

He therefore assured the legislators that the concerns they expressed would be taken to the appropriate quarters and see how those concerns would be addressed.

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas) Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo stated that, the Ministry as a policy making organ was to provide an enabling environment for investors to come in and invest in the oil and gas sector for the good of the country.

He called for a synergy between the executive and legislative arms of government with a view to arriving at a level that would give renewed hope to Nigerians.

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