ABUJA â€” THE Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has submitted a 2010 budget proposal for the oil and gas industry, particularly as it affects joint venture spend totaling $10.726 billion, stating that the figure was higher than the 2009 budget by $3.505 billion.
Meanwhile, hope of early passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill has been rekindled with the disclosure, Tuesday, by Senator Lee Maeba, Chairman of the Joint Senate Committee on the PIB that the report of the Joint Senate Committee on the Bill was ready.
Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, made the disclosure while speaking at a 2010 budget defence session organized by the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources, Upstream, for the corporation.
While responding to observations from Senator Lee Maeba, Barkindo gave an overview of developments in the upstream sector, explaining that proposals in the 2010 budget were made in recognition of the key role oil would continue to play in the sustenance of the Nigerian economy in the foreseeable future and the need to guarantee further investments in the sector.
Barkindo said: â€œThe incremental funding is to enable us maintain current production, replace old and depleting ones and increase production to meet our national aspirations,â€ noting that the consequences of failure to appropriate what was requested include inability to meet Joint Venture cash calls resulting in failure to arrest declining production as well as inability to increase gas supply to the National Integrated Power Projects, NIPP, to meet national power production aspiration.
The NNPC group managing director described the PIB as the single most important legislation that seeks to introduce transparency and accountability in the petroleum industry in Nigeria in consonance with international best practices, adding: â€œthis is the first time in Nigeria that we will have an all encompassing law that would govern the industry in the most transparent manner that will meet the expectations of the international community as well.â€
He commended members of the committee for the work done on the PIB so far and urged them to ensure speedy transformation of the Bill into an Act to bring the industry on the path of growth.
â€œOur committee report on the PIB is ready. In the next two weeks, it will be submitted to the plenary,â€ Senator Maeba assured oil and gas industry chieftains who were present at the session. He explained that members of the committee took into consideration the concerns expressed by various stakeholders in the course of compiling the report and that the law that will eventually emerge would protect interests of the nation, investors as well as those of oil producing communities.
According to him: â€œThe tax regime recommended in the report is investor-friendly. It is not the highest in the world, it is not the lowest.â€
On the 2010 budget defence, he said it was an opportunity for his committee to review the difficulties in the implementation of the 2009 budget, adding that his committee would like to know the challenges faced by operators in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry with a view to finding a way forward.