“Nigerians have to persuade the Federal Government to act on the PIGB as we are in an election year…,” said Ihetu
The Federal Government has been urged to set a definite timeline for the commencement of the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), once President Muhammadu Buhari assents to it.
A panel of experts who spoke at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Energy Correspondents (NAEC) Thursday in Lagos, expressed the fear that unless the PIGB is insulated with timelines like implementation deadlines, its passage into law in an election year might suffer unnecessary delays, should the current administration fail to get re-elected in 2019.
The panelists argued that, over the years, Nigerians have never benefited much from the oil and gas industry due to lack of accountability and transparency, but were optimistic that with the PIGB which separates the regulatory and commercial functions from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the country would gain more from the industry.
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They argued, for instance, that the PIGB would end the regime of political interferences and abuses of previous years in the NNPC, just as they expressed optimism that the PIGB would assist unlock all dormant potential in the petroleum industry to deliver improved dividend to Nigerians. The panelists included the President, Petroleum Club, Dr. Godswill Ihetu; Team Leader of FOSTER, Mr. Henry Adigun; and a lawyer, Dr. Adeoye Adefulu.
The three analysts also urged Nigerians to embrace the PIGB as its implementation will give the petroleum industry a strong commercial and regulatory institutions that are currently absent and stifling efforts to attract sufficient private sector investments.
Ihetu in his contribution lauded the National Assembly for the timely delivery of PIGB for assent by President Buhari, but noted how the 7th National Assembly had thought they had worked out a successful PIB Act for the country only for the 8th Assembly to jettison it and the process restarted with an attendant loss of billions of dollars to the industry.
“Nigerians have to persuade the Federal Government to act on the PIGB as we are in an election year.
There must be acceleration for the assent by President Buhari so that we don’t lose more money,” said Ihetu.
For his part, Adefulu acknowledged that the PIGB was coming at a time that there was more dissipation of energy for the 2019 elections and that this could pose a problem for its implementation.