….We can’t give time for passage – Gbajabiamila
By Henry Umoru
THE Federal Government, Monday, urged Nigerians to make effective use of oil, adding that it would soon become worthless.
Speaking in Abuja at an interactive meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, cautioned that based on a forecast in the global oil industry, oil would be worthless in the next 20 years.
The meeting presided over by the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, with the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and other Leaders of the National Assembly in attendance was aimed at discussing the details of a draft copy of the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB).
However, Sylva, who sought the cooperation of the National Assembly for speedy passage of the PIB forwarded to both the Senate and the House of Representatives, said the country needed to quickly pass the PIB to make the best of investments from the sector before 2040, already forecasted for 50 percent loss of relevance of crude oil in global market.
He said: “It is quite unfortunate that since year 2000 when attempts were made to come up with draft copy of PIB, to 2007, 2009 and 2012 when draft bills were submitted to different sessions of the National Assembly by the executive arm of government, we are yet to put on ground the required laws for effective regulation of the oil industry.
“Twenty years have been wasted in putting the laws in place for a sector that has 20 more years of full relevance going by forecasts already made. Forecasts in oil industry circles indicate that oil will play less and less role in global economy. Specifically, by year 2040, which is 20 years away, relevance of oil in global economy will reduce by 50%.”
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According to Sylva, the PIB as drafted and passed to both Chambers of the National Assembly, if expeditiously considered and passed, will serve as the foundation of investments, adding that one of the central aims of the bill, is to make Nigeria an attractive investment destination.”
In his opening remarks, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said that though the PIB seemed to be jinxed since 2007 and 2019, the fresh effort will surely see the light of the day, adding that it is difficult to put a time frame on when the jinx would be broken through the passage of the bill because details of its contents must be understood and thoroughness applied in its consideration.
He said: “The essence of this meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly and officials of the Ministry of Petroleum and NNPC is to discuss the essence and focus of the Petroleum Industry Bill that has been sent to the National Assembly about two weeks ago. We announce that the Bill is now in the National Assembly even though it is not before the National Assembly. By tomorrow when the letter of transmission is read on the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives, we will know what it is the Bill.
“The essence of this meeting is for us to understand what is in the Bill. That is the essence and purpose of the meeting. This is just for us to interact with you on the content of the Bill so that we have some first-hand information, understanding and idea of what is in there and of course from there the interaction will continue maybe at another level with our committees for the processing of the Bill by the National Assembly leading to its eventual passage by the grace of God.”