By Chiamaka Meribole
Stakeholders in the Nigerian petroleum industry have stated that the delay in passing the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, into law has resulted in a lot of leakages, theft and sabotage in the industry.
They made this assertion in a communiqué issued at the roundtable on the PIB in Abuja.
The stakeholders averred that Nigeria’s competitive advantage is consistently being eroded by increasing discoveries of crude oil in more stable economies operating within Africa such as Tanzania, Ghana and Mozambique among others.
They further explained that Nigeria has realised the need to change the governance framework of its oil and gas industry, having used an archaic law that was enacted in 1969 to run her oil industry in 2018.
According to the communiqué, the non-passage of the PIB has cost Nigeria’s oil and gas industry billions of dollars’ worth of investment and returns to her economy.
It noted that this becomes worrisome, especially as the PIB sought to empower institutions and not individuals, take away bad governance which leads to inefficiency, ineffectiveness, rent-seeking tendencies, inequity, secrecy and corruption in the country’s petroleum industry.
However, the stakeholders were unanimous in their views that the 2019 elections had provided Nigerians with the best opportunity to get the political leadership of the country to pass the PIB into law.
To this end, the stakeholders, through the communiqué recommended that the assent to the PIGB is essential and should happen as soon as possible.
They also called for the proposals made on the variants of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), that is the Petroleum Industry Administrative Bill (PIAB), the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB) and the Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Development Bill (PHICDB) at the public hearings should be expeditiously considered with the bills passed as a matter of urgency by the National Assembly.
The communiqué added, “The relevant government MDA’s; Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources (FMoPR), Federal Ministry of Finance (FMoF), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) etc, must advocate for the Assent of the PIGB for the benefit of the Nigerian economy.
“Key issues for public engagement on the PIGB should include: harmonisation; presidential assent; public education about the new oil and gas governance regime; passage of the remaining complementary three bills; effective implementation of the PIGB; as well as close monitoring and reporting.
“The media and civil society must begin in earnest to sensitize the public on the need to change the status quo.Accountability actors to demand that the National Assembly to create a platform where people can verify the bills they are working on.” CSOs and media must continually demand for this until it becomes a reality to ensure transparency and foster open governance in the petroleum sector.”