By Charles Nwaoguji
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura, has said that full Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be signed into law before the end of the year.
Alasoadura ,who stated this in a chat with Daily Sun in Owerri , Imo State, stated that the bill,awaiting final passage in the Red Chamber, holds immense benefits for Nigerians.
He noted that the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) which was recently passed into law was one out of the four bills expected to be passed by December .
The senator said that the bill has gone through five sessions of the National Assembly, beginning from the 4th Assembly which was inaugurated in 1999 under President Olusegun Obasanjo, adding that the bill is not only for Nigerians, but also for investors .
He stated that when PIB is fully passed into law, it would not only help to create more jobs for Nigerians, but will also foster a conducive business environment for petroleum operations.
He pointed out that under the new PIBG regime, it will become illegal to employ foreigners for certain skills that can be sourced locally and that even where such skills are sourced from abroad, it would be mandatory for Nigerians to understudy such an expatriate.
While the PIGB will enhance exploitation and exploration of petroleum resources in the country for the benefit of all Nigerians, he said it would also increase power generation and industrial development capacity of the country through abundant domestic gas supply.
He said the law would also create profit-driven oil entities, encourage investment in the nation’s petroleum industry and tremendously increase government’s revenue.
“Government’s revenue from oil industry will increase. This means more funds in the hands of government to engage in developmental activities.
“The downstream sector will become fully deregulated. In other words, subsidy will be totally removed,he added.
”He said the law will also bring about a fully deregulated and liberalized downstream petroleum sector, create efficient and effective regulatory agencies and promote the development of Nigerian local content in the oil industry.
Besides, he stated that the emphasis on local content will not only be in the area of skills, but would also be applicable to materials sourcing.
Alasoadura said: “This means more jobs for Nigerian local contractors, especially those from the oil producing regions.”
“The PIB vests ownership and management of all petroleum resources, offshore or onshore, in the Federal Government of Nigeria, which is to manage them on behalf of all Nigerians.
“This means that irrespective of where the oil is found, it belongs to the government of Nigeria. Of course, equity calls for special consideration for localities where the resources are mined. This is taken care of by the Revenue sharing laws and other provisions of this Bill like the Host Community Fund.”
He stated that since gas is still under-focused in Nigeria and its potential as a source of energy untapped, the PIB seeks to maximize the benefits of the nation’s gas resources.
He said: “If well explored, this will boost power supply in Nigeria.”
He added that the PIB will also lead to the establishment of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Investment Pact Scheme, which will ensure that components of the oil industry equipment can be manufactured locally.