VP Osinbajo’s Goodwill Message Celebrating 25 Years Of Sahara Group
GOODWILL MESSAGE BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE VIRTUAL EVENT CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF SAHARA GROUP ON THE 23RD OF AUGUST, 2021
I am very delighted to join so many others in Nigeria and around the world to celebrate with the founders, management and staff of Sahara Energy on this occasion of your 25th anniversary.
In the last two decades, we have consistently seen, and with great pride, I must add, a growth of Nigerian Oil companies. From the days when Nigerian companies were mainly invested in the downstream sector to a situation now where we have Nigerian companies in the downstream, midstream, and the upstream.
Nigerian companies have shown capacity in operations and financing of oil and gas assets. Within this group of patriotic local investors, Sahara has consistently blazed the trail as industry leaders, not just in the Petroleum sector, but in the Power sector as well.
The founders of this iconic energy institution literally turned a local petroleum trading company into an international business spanning oil trading, bulk petroleum storage, oil production, gas supply, shipping, electricity distribution and power production, in just over a decade, and they have continued to build out strategically since.
Sahara has been and remains a great ambassador for the Nigerian entrepreneurial brand; bold, Innovative, knowledge-driven with business models that are designed to seize opportunities in other countries and have done so with remarkable success in many countries.
The next 25 years will be defining for the energy industry.
Locally, we launch into the brave new world for the oil and gas industry with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021. And this happily converges with the launch of the Year 2021 to 2030 as the ‘Decade of Gas Development for Nigeria’. This is a follow-up to the highly successful initiative of the Year 2020 as the Year of Gas.
The main goal of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the gas initiatives aforementioned is to transform Nigeria not only into a gas-based industrialized nation through enhanced accelerated gas production and distribution, but also to help create a better-managed petroleum industry where both the people of Nigeria and investors alike can extract value.
But also, we enter into two decades where the speed to decarbonization will from what we see today, run on steroids. Already, the wealthier nations and their institutions have banned many public investments in certain fossil projects, including natural gas. Examples include the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark, as well as specific institutions such as the Swedfund from Sweden, Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, the largest in the world, the CDC of the UK, the European Investment Bank, and the Investment Fund for Developing Countries from Denmark.
The World Bank and other multilateral development banks are being urged by their shareholders to do the same.
I think we are faced with a situation where several of these countries are putting tremendous pressure on their members. Barely two weeks ago, the UN Secretary-General made a strong call, that ‘Countries should end all new fossil fuel exploration and production, and shift fossil fuel subsidies into renewable energy.
While the Federal Government is building coalitions with other affected countries to urge a Just Transition as we advance to zero-transmission, I will urge indigenous energy companies such as yourselves to join in the urgent advocacy that is required to prevent the disaster that would result from defunding oil and gas projects.
The third big issue is the opportunity that AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS will offer. Sahara is already in business in many parts of the continent, but your participation and contributions to some of the negotiations that are going on now will be helpful especially because of your experience out there in the field already.
So, I would really urge you to join in some of what we are doing especially with our negotiating teams to see that we are able to get the very best value from this next round of negotiations.
Before I end, I must thank the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, President Akinwunmi Adeshina, for his great support for Sahara Energy and for our government and our several initiatives and projects. I know that he is pulled in several different directions and he is working across the continent.
I must also thank specially, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Felix Tshisekedi for his support for Sahara Energy – Excellence Monsieur le President, je vous rhemercie afiniment pour votre appui eau Sahara Energie. Accepte Monsieur le Presidente, l’assursance mes considerations distanges.
Let me again congratulate the Sahara Team for 25 years of stunning achievements in the energy industry and wish you even more remarkable 25 years ahead.
God bless you and all you do.
Thank you very much.