BY SEBASTINE OBASI
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said that the passage of the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, will enable Nigeria to access capital investments in the oil and gas sector.
Addressing participants at an interactive session on the PIB, the Minister who was represented by Mr. Jonathan Okehs, Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, also said that if the reforms in the sector are carried out effectively, Nigeria will be a hub in the African region.
She said, “Today, Nigeria is on the way to assessing capital investors in a sector that hitherto had been without prospects due to policies that made investments uneconomic to pursue. It is my firm belief that the PIB embodies the essential reforms that will put the petroleum sector on the path to robust growth.
“Adhering to the principles advocated, Nigeria fully expects to be a significant hub in the African region for petroleum activities.”
According to the Minister, the PIB will create a deregulated and competitive petroleum sector that will attract foreign and local investments. It will also ensure a viable commercial framework including a tariff regime that promotes transparency, guarantees security of investments and a reasonable rate of return on investments, she added.
Also speaking, the Vice President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Mr Issa Aremu, argued that the PIB must address critical issues in the sector.
According to him, the PIB must make provisions that recognise and uphold the interests and welfare of organised labour and workers represented by PENGASSAN and NUPENG.
“The bill must ensure that all companies operating in the Nigerian oil and gas industry complied with all international labour conventions that have been ratified by Nigeria; the collective agreements with labour unions, and the extant labour laws as a minimum in all their dealings with the Nigerian workers and their representatives.
“The bill must ensure that companies operating in the oil and gas industry do not use the PIB as a ploy to disengage Nigerians. To this end, the PIB should give the regulatory agencies the power to protect the jobs of Nigerians working in the oil and gas industry such that no Nigerian will be relieved of his/her job without the approval in writing of the regulator,” he said.
Aremu further said that the PIB must ensure the strengthening of the Nigerian Content Act and policies, especially as it relates to labour, training and manpower development.
“It must ensure the mandatory recognition of the right to freedom of association and effective collective bargaining by all companies operating or doing business in the Nigerian oil and gas industry irrespective of where they are located,” he added.