By Kunle Kalejaye
Stakeholders in the Oil and Gas industry have urged the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the Petroleum Industry bill, PIB, which was sent to it by Mr President last week.
Some of them who speak with newsmen in Lagos said that the bill was long overdue, adding that its passage will fast track socio-economic development in the industry.
Mr Afe Mayowa, President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, NAPE, said that approval of the bill by the Federal Executive Council is a welcome development.
He said that discussions had shown how serious government is on passing the bill, while urging the National Assemble to follow suit.
“When the Executive Council speedily approved the bill that is an indication that the government is very serious with it; and I want to also appeal to the National Assembly to also treat it with the same urgency that the Federal Executive has done.
The NAPE president said passage of the bill will save the nation’s oil and gas sector from total collapse.
He, however, expressed worries that there are many versions of the bill in circulation, which he said, posed a great challenge to the oil and gas sector.
Alhaji Adebisi Bada, the Financial Sectary, Western Zone of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, said that the newly created companies put the oil and gas industry in the right perspective.
He said that some of the divisions that were created are meant to take care of specific duties in the sector.
“The PIB is what all stakeholders have been clamouring for to sanitise the petroleum industry, and from the news, I gathered that the likes of Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF, and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, have been scrapped, and I think that is good so that fuel will be made available everywhere and it will be sold at landing cost in every state and every location in the country.
“I think it’s good for the country; in Europe this is what is obtainable, what is sold in London, is what is sold in North London. The farther you go from the point of production, the more you pay and it take care of cost of transportation,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Iheanacho, the Managing Director of Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, in his view said that “everybody is actually expecting to see the new PIB signed into law, because it’s going to allow for the proper unbundling of the NNPC.”
It would be recalled that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which created six new companies that will transform the oil and gas sector.
The six new firms include the National Oil Company, Asset Management Corporation, National Frontier Exploration Services, National Gas Company and the Petroleum Host Communities Development Fund.