Some stakeholders, yesterday, brainstormed on some of the issues delaying passage of the 20-year old Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), suggesting ways of resolving them to minimise the consequences in the oil sector and the nation’s economy.
Specifically, the stakeholders, at a virtual colloquium on “PIB: Finally Getting It Right and Breaking the 20-Years Hiatus”, dwelt on righting the wrongs in the petroleum industry through a legislation that would address age-long concerns in Niger Delta, ensure inflow of investment and end decades of opacity in the oil sector.
Participants at the TNGPIBConfab include Deputy Senate Present, Ovie Omo-Agege; former governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Prof. Gabriel Darah; former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo.
They decried a situation where resources meant for Niger Delta end up in the hands of a few people.
Others who participated at the event are former acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ibim Semenitari; former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; Senator Magnus Abe; Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian, Martins Oloja and Prof. Ben Oghojafor.
Omo-Agege, who said the nation had lost a lot to the delay in passage of the PIB, disclosed that key agencies such as Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) have been marked for scrapping.
According to Omo-Agege, royalties would be reduced, environmental concerns would be addressed and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) would become a commercial entity.
Assuring that the current National Assembly would do everything to pass the bill speedily, Omo-Agege said with the development, Nigeria would increase daily crude oil production to 3 million barrels as oil reserves would increase to 40 billion barrels by 2023.
Uduaghan said the bill must critically focus on gas resources. According to him, since Nigeria has more gas than oil, looking towards intentional models of harnessing the resources should form a critical part of the bill.
Semenitari said nothing less than 10 per cent should be considered for the host communities, stressing that if 10 per cent was good for solid mineral, it should also be good for the petroleum industry.
“Clear definition of host community is important,” she said
With the high volume of the proposed law, Semenitari stated that getting the public to understand it would remain a mirage unless the media play critical role of breaking it down for the masses.
Oloja stated that with the concern over the move away from fossil fuels, the legislation must be futuristic to deliver maximum gains that would reflect global perspective.
According to him, there is need to properly define the roles of the trust funds expected to be created, otherwise a repeat of the NDDC situation would be unavoidable.
Oloja, who was represented by The Guardian energy journalist, Kingsley Jeremiah, said ensuring a robust downstream sector through the bill would enable the industry contribute significantly to Gross Domestic Product by spurring entrepreneurial activities that would benefit the youths.
To Keyamo, making the boards of the trust funds accountable remained critical. “The days when people jostle to get into the board and award contracts to friends should be over,” he said.
-The Guardian (ng)