Minister seeks establishment of specialised banks to finance sector investments

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Chief Timipre Sylva on Monday sought the establishment of a specialized bank to finance investments in the energy sector in Africa.

He said this became imperative considering the dwindling investment financing for hydrocarbon projects.

Sylva stated this when he hosted the Equatorial Guinea Minister of Hydrocarbon, Mr Gabriel Lima, in Abuja.

According to him, such bank would finance hydrocarbon exploration on the continent and ensure that African countries have enough in reserve to meet their energy needs.

He noted that the call for the establishment of the energy bank is heightened by the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), stressing that the Act will open up the oil and gas sector for huge investments going forward.

His words:”The PIA is a watershed moment for us in Nigeria. This is the time for us to get out of Nigeria to market this investment environment. We must not go out of Africa to attract investments. We must set up structures to fund our system. If we insist on the exploration of our oil and gas reserves when the world is cutting down on investments in the sector, we must set a financial institution, an African Energy Bank to develop the oil and gas sector.

“If we go into more exploration in Africa, we will find more oil and gas and must we leave it under the ground because the other countries are racing for renewable energy? We must find a way to explore it and that’s why we need an energy bank along the line of the African Development Bank (AfDB).”

He explained that since western nations were scaling down funding for hydrocarbon exploration across the world due to the race for renewable energies, setting up an African energy bank would be the only alternative available to African countries to continue to explore the vast hydrocarbon resources in the continent.

While calling for synergy among African nations, the minister noted that no country in the world would help Africa develop other than Africans themselves and therefore called for unity among nations in the continent.

He said “none of us can grow without each other. It is not all the time that we run to Europe or America or elsewhere for support. We need to keep talking and we need mutual cooperation to solve our own problem. We can achieve this under African Petroleum Producers’ Organization’s (APPO).”

Earlier, Lima stressed the need for Africa to strengthen the South-South cooperation stressing that “it is not good for us to go far to do business. We need to cooperate with our neighbours.”

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