Varsity Don Calls For Better Use Of Petroleum Revenue


A university teacher,
Dr Timothy Okon, has called on the Federal Government to come up with a deliberate plan to properly harness and prioritise revenue accruable from oil.
According to him, this is necessary in order “to better the lot of Nigerians groaning under economic recession”.
Dr Okon, who made the call recently at the 6th “Emmanuel Egbogah Legacy Lecture Series” in the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), said a good knowledge of price movement in the oil and gas sector is important.
He stated that understanding price movement in the unpredictable oil and gas sector is the right strategy for any forward-looking government.
There were many tools that should have enabled policy makers to manage the economy in a volatile situation such as we currently find ourselves.
“Our failure to create the necessary buffers early enough to forestall the current predicament has resulted in the situation we find ourselves”.
“When prices were high, we ought to have saved for the rainy day, but we regrettably failed to do so.
“That was what led to belated creation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) from which other oil producing countries such as Norway, Kuwait and Qatar have reaped huge profits”, he said.
To address the situation, Dr Okon stated that there is the need for “government to evolve basic plan for properly harnessing and prioritising oil revenue”.
Okon, who was the keynote speaker at the occasion, warned government against what he called such “economic populism” as subsidies in petroleum products, noting that it is not only unsustainable, but also damages the long term development of the country.
He also called for both revenue and economic diversification in order to check the present economic challenges and to discourage states from depending entirely on revenue accruable from the Federal Government.
In his remarks, chairman of the occasion and Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, described Dr Egbogah as one who believed in core competencies.
The Governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Professor Joe Asike, stated that with the prospect of Anambra State joining the league of oil producing states, the government will ensure that tertiary institutions in the state come to UNIPORT to acquire necessary trainings.
On his part, Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Ndowa Lale, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Admin), Professor Anthony Ibe, extolled the philanthropy of Dr Egbogah and his love for quality education, which, he said, gave birth to the “Emerald Energy Institute”, venue of the occasion.
He noted that the institute “is doing a commendable job in helping to shape the future policy direction of the Nigerian hydrocarbon industry.