By Michael Eboh
Global extractive industry watchdog, Publish What You Pay, PWYP, yesterday, stated that Nigeria is losing N3 trillion annually for failing to put in place a proper legislation for the oil and gas industry.
The amount lost to the non-passage of the petroleum laws represents 32.97 per cent of the country’s 2018 budget figure of N9.1 trillion and is 40.32 per cent of the N7.44 trillion 2017 budget .
Addressing newsmen on the lingering passage of the Petroleum Industry Bills (PIB), National Coordinator, PWYP, Mr. Peter Egbule, therefore, called for the speedy assent of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, and the passage of the remaining oil and gas bills before the National assembly.
According to him, the passage and signing of the Bills into law is in the collective interest of all Nigerians, as this will create a more functional administrative structure, significantly reduce financial leakages, encourage foreign and domestic investments, provide succor for host communities, among others.
He said, “Although we hope and expect that the President will assent to the PIGB and the other bills whenever they are transmitted to him, but we also recognize that it is his right to refuse assent.
“If the latter happens, it will be disappointing to well-meaning Nigerians, resulting in another round of legislative reconsiderations, political intrigues, delays, and public frustrations.
“This will be a major setback in our collective interest in establishing a more responsive and socio-economically impactful Nigeria Petroleum Industry, as well as send the wrong signal to Nigerians and the global community at large.”
He appealed to the National Assembly to immediately refocus on the passage of the Bills, and intentionally dedicate substantial time for the legislative processes required for the passage of the bills, especially before they become engrossed in the obviously heightening political activities towards the 2019 general elections.
Egbule also implored both the National Assembly and the Presidency to carry out their respective actions without further delays in the interest of the dwindling economy and the lives being affected by the continuous delay in the passage of the Bills.
“We implore the National Assembly to take the path of national reverence in passing the bills. This is our expectation on the National assembly, and we are confident that when the time comes, they will do so with visible swiftness, in the interest of all Nigerians,” Egbule noted.
He further urged President Muhammed Buhari to on receipt of the Bills, act in line with his incessantly proclaimed stance on corruption and expedite action on his assent to the bills.
He maintained that the present administration have a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity of writing its name in the annals of achievements by passing and signing these bills into laws.
Publish What You Pay (PWYP) is a global membership-based coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) in over forty countries, united in their call for an open and accountable extractive sector, so that oil, gas and mining revenues improve the lives of women, men and youth in resource-rich countries and that extraction is carried out in a responsible manner that benefits countries and their citizens.