The Federal Government, on Tuesday moved to fix the critical missing link in its effort to develop the country’s gas sector with the inauguration of the Governing Council of the Midstream & Downstream Gas Infrastructure Fund (MDGIF).
While inaugurating the nine-member Council, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva charged members to work seriously to mobilise funds for the provision of the critical infrastructure for the gas industry.
Sylva said the inauguration of the Council was a further demonstration of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the nation’s energy sector “to drive economic development and prosperity for our people, our nation and value to our partners, in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (PIA)”.
In March 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari declared January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2030 as “The Decade of Gas Development for Nigeria”, primarily to set the road map towards a gas-powered economy by 2030.
Sylva noted that although the Federal Government has put in place several programmes towards achieving the decade of gas initiatives and developing the huge gas potentials of the country, he however lamented that the missing link was the absence of the basic gas infrastructure to help realise the objectives.
He said a key cause of poor gas production, gas flaring and low domestic gas utilisation was the gas infrastructure deficit in the country.
“It is estimated that more than $20 billion yearly will be required over the next ten years to bridge these gaps,” the Minister said.
The Fund, established under Section 52 of the PIA, resides as a Directorate in the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
As a Directorate within the Authority, the Minister said the Fund would be expected to benefit from its internal reporting, operational and organisational processes adding that in accordance with the PIA, 2021, the Council “shall supervise and make investment decisions for the Fund”.
Section 52 (3) provides for the Governing Council to supervise and make investment decisions for the Fund.
Sylva urged the members of the Council not to take their responsibilities lightly stressing that urgent steps need to be taken to bring gas infrastructure closer to “our people to enable them benefit from government policy in this regard”.
The composition of the Council according to the minister was carefully done in view of the importantance of gas to the growth and development to the economy.
“The Midstream and Downstream sector is where the jobs could be created and value added to the economy,” Sylva said urging the Council members to take their assignment seriously.
“There is an urgent need to focus on the major strategic plans and key initiatives to enable government set a clear trajectory to achieving the noble objectives of establishing the Fund,” he further stated.
Terms of reference for the Council include identifying critical and relevant stakeholders that can increase domestic utilisation of natural gas, LPG and Auto gas, and
develop a roadmap for transforming gas to a value addition product in Nigeria.
The Council has the Minister of State Petroleum Resources as Chairman and the Executive Director MDGIF as chief executive officer.
Other members of the Council include Dr Scholastica Nnaji representing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Mr Victor Omata representing Federal Ministry of Finance, Farouk Ahmed Chief Executive Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA); Mr Ahmed Bobboi; Abdullahi Bukar; Mr Effiong Abia while the Legal Adviser, NMDPRA will serve as the Secretary of the Council.