By Adewale Sanyaolu
Barring any last minute change, the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be ready in the next two weeks.
The Lead Consultant to the Senate on PIB and former Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr. Austin Olorunshola, who gave the timeline yesterday, at the 55th anniversary of the Oil Producers Trade Section of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) with the theme ‘’Nigeria an Investor Friendly Destination said the remaining three parts of PIB, which included the fiscals, Downstream Oil and Gas Administration; Petroleum Fiscals; Petroleum Revenue Management and Petroleum Host Community Fund (PHCF) would be presented for public hearing in two weeks.
Recall that the Senate had in May 2017, passed the Petroleum Industry (Governance) Bill (PIGB) focusing only on the administrative aspect of the proposed law.
The PIGB passed in May has nothing to do with the protection of the interest of the oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta. It is a segment of the original Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that was sent to the National Assembly some 12 years ago by the presidency.
Olorunshola explained that the original PIB was split into logical parts for easy legislative work to allow the individual parts to be expeditiously considered and passed one after the other, and where amendments are required in the future, they can be separately considered.
The lead consultant told oil and gas stakeholders at the event that Nigerians should expect a radical PIB in terms of legislative provisions.
He regretted that Nigeria’s oil production cost are about the highest in the world, assuring that the PIB when fully passed into law would be able to bring down cost as some of the fiscals that are outdated and ambiguous had largely contributed to this.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of OPTS and Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mr.Osagie Okunbor, said from being an organization dominated by International Oil Companies (IOCs), OPTS has matured to an all-inclusive 27-member group of which 20 of its member companies are indigenous homegrown.
He hinted that even in the face of economic challenges and low oil price regime, OPTS members have shown resilience and commitment.
“Therefore, despite the challenging fiscal regime, security and environmental circumstances, we have contributed significantly to the development of Nigeria. Oil and gas revenue accounts for over 90 percent of export earnings, 83 percent of the federal revenue and about 35 percent of our GDP.
Our industry is also proud to have contributed tens of billions of dollars to the Nigerian governments at all levels in taxes, levies, royalties, rents and licenses,’’ he said.
He disclosed that OPTS member companies have continued to provide significant livelihood to Nigerians through direct and indirect employment of persons, local contractors and service providers while its members have continued to invest in skills and capacity development for individuals and groups to support exploration and production activities and boost the supply chain