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Okowa advocates PIA enforcement to check oil theft


Okowa advocates PIA enforcement to check oil theft

By Jennifer S Kuwanta

Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor of Delta, Sen (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has called for proper enforcement of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to effectively check oil theft in the country.

Okowa stated this on Sunday while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘People’s Townhall’, a special programme for presidential candidates in the 2023 general elections.

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He said that Nigeria wasn’t getting the maximum benefit from its oil production because it was hamstrung by high-profile oil theft, including illegal oil bunkering, which had negatively affected the country’s oil production quota.

He stated that Nigeria was losing out on natural gas resources due to its inability to harness it like other nations, but assured that the Atiku Abubakar administration would continue with the country’s gas development plan as an alternative source of revenue.

“While other countries are getting a lot more resources from oil to develop other sectors of their economy, we don’t seem to benefit from that because we are producing less than what we ought to produce.

“There is the need to ramp up production by dealing with illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta through strong community engagement and by ensuring implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

“We can also achieve that by ensuring the communities have buy-in and also work with security agencies to deal with oil theft.

“The gas sector is one sector that we tend to ignore. When we come in next year we will ensure the continuation of the gas development plan, and that reforms are carried out critically to rake in more resources for the country,” Okowa said.

On subsidy removal, the vice-presidential candidate said the PDP administration would be headed by Atiku Abubakar would be committed to fueling subsidy removal because it was draining resources of the country.

According to him, Nigeria cannot continue to borrow to fund fuel subsidies while other critical sectors are facing inadequate funding.

“Subsidy removal is important because other critical sectors like Education and Health are suffering; so, removing subsidy would free more funds for the development of those sectors which provide critical services to those at the lower rung of the society.”

He said that Abubakar would provide the much-needed leadership to salvage the nation from its current travails.

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