By Udeme Akpan
An indigenous investor has tasked the Federal Government on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
Group Managing Director, BRADE Group, Mr. Ese Avanoma, disclosed on the sideline of the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, that the roles of some government agencies were duplicated, thus making it difficult for investors to deal with each of them.
He said such duplicated roles, involving local governments, states and Federal Government should be streamlined, to make it easier for investors, desiring to invest in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Avanoma, who noted that the industry had carried out some reviews or reforms in the past, said a lot still needs to be done to make Nigeria globally competitive.
He said the reform had become very compelling now that oil price has dropped from over $100 recorded some years back to the current less than $60 per barrel, thus resulting in low returns to investors.
Specifically referring to the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, he said: “This bill has been on the drawing board for several years. It is important for all stakeholders, including the government, oil companies and communities to work toward its passage without further delay.”
However, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had said: “The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is now at an advanced stage and the bill would be passed by the middle of this year.
“First, we want to progress the consideration and the passage of the overall petroleum legislation. The team working on the PIB is at the final stage of the harmonisation of all the existing versions from 2000 to date, 2009, 2012 and 2018, with consideration to the concerns raised by the industry players to create an enabling environment for investors as well as appropriate government take in all the oil and gas value chain.
“Counting on the current harmony between the executive and the legislative arms of government, we are optimistic that both the petroleum industry governance, administration and host community bill on the one hand and the petroleum industry fiscal bill on the other hand will be passed within the first anniversary of this administration.
“Special focus will be placed on the mid-stream and downstream sectors. Consequently, we are considering two regulators in the PIB, one for the upstream, The Commission and another for the midstream and the downstream, The Authority.
“The midstream and downstream sectors will particularly open enormous opportunity to local investors and create massive job opportunities in the country. For example, opportunities will be available in the pipeline engineering, redesigning, procurement and construction. Terminal operations pipe mills fabrications of vessels , storage facilities, pipe transportation and laying equipment, refineries, central processing facilities and also investment in gas based industries, fertilisers, methanol, petrochemicals, LPG, CMG, etc.
“Open access for oil and gas transportation will be fully enhanced. On the upstream side, we are coming up with more robust fiscal provision, acreage management, drilling or drop program, we are not only going to retain investors, but multitudes will join the league of high value operators.”