By Steve Agbota
Stakeholders in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry have said that the final passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) by House of Representatives will create wealth, reduce poverty and create more business opportunities for Nigerians.
Though, the Senate had already passed the PIGB, it still needs to be passed by the House of Representatives and assented to by the President before it becomes law.
It was against this backdrop that, the stakeholders called on the House of Representatives and President to give the bill appropriate consideration. as it was designed to establish a framework for the creation of commercially-oriented and profit driven petroleum entities, to ensure value addition and internationalisation of the petroleum industry, through the creation of efficient and effective governing institutions with clear and separate roles for the petroleum industry.
Speaking at a Breakfast Business Lecture organised by the Island Club in Lagos titled: Petroleum Industry Bill: Challenges and Opportunities, the Chief Executive Officer of Folawiyo Petroleum Company Limited, Mr. Tunde Folawiyo, said that the Bill appears to be an ideal legislation for the purposes intended, as it seeks to clearly separate the policy, regulatory and commercial institutions in the Nigerian petroleum industry.
However, he added that like other bills including its predecessors, some ﬁne-tuning is still required to ensure that its provisions are robust enough to address all foreseeable aspects of the governance structure for the petroleum industry.
On the challenges facing the Bill, he said: “The PIGB has no provision for an end to gas ﬂaring and as such, there is a lack of independence for regulators and a glaring neglect of host communities interest in the proposed new institutions.
The PIGB states that the NNPC will not be subject to the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) and the Public Procurement Act (PPA), even though it will remain a government owned institution before its shares are divested.”
On the opportunities expected from the implementation of the bill he said the commission would have a special investigation unit which among other things, will keep surveillance on oil and gas installations for illegal activities and will have the power to work with the police to make arrests. This should give some comfort to stakeholders.
According to him, it is expected that the harmonisation of the functions of the regulators (the new NPRC) of the industry will address issues of redtapism in the industry and reduce inter-agency frictions
Meanwhile, Chairman of The Island Club, Banji Oladapo said: “There are so many opportunities to tap in the bill. All we need to do is to pray and urged legislators to pass all the bills, open up the systems for all Nigerians, because we have singular bill that means so much to all Nigerians. The bill will help to reduce poverty level in the country and turn things around for Nigerians, which we need to take the advantage and want to open up all the opportunities.”
Also the President/Chief Executive Officer of Business School, Netherlands, Lere Baale said: “we are able to see tremendous opportunities in this bill and I believe that the bill has set a motion, a very beautiful journey towards greater prosperity and thriving of the Nigerian. Nigerians can tap into the huge opportunity in that segment, addressing the local content and they can participate in the upstream, in the midstream and the downstream and this provide very big opportunity for us to create wealth and to be able to work with government institutions to improve democratic dividend to the rest of the masses of our nation.”