PENGASSAN moves for speedy passage of petroleum bills
• Seeks stakeholders engagement
Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior StaffAssociation of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has called on the Federal Government toengage critical stakeholders in the oil and gas sector for quick passage of thePetroleum Industry Bills pending before the National Assembly to revolutionisethe industry and restore investors’ confidence.
According to PENGASSAN, the bills includethe Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill,the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB), and the Petroleum Host and ImpactedCommunity Bill (PHICB).
The union argued that with theuncertainty surrounding the passage of the bills into law, investors arealready wary of long-term investments in the industry, thereby hampering thecreation and retention of jobs.
The oil workers decried that the delayedpassage of the PIB has opened up several unresolved issues, noting that theuncertainty and lack of alignment with the industry’s operators on the proposedfiscal regime in the PIB have stalled many investment decisions.
PENGASSAN stressed that the existing andprospective investors seriously yearn for basic incentives to stimulate theirbusiness interests across the petroleum value chain.
The workers, in theirrecommendations on some critical national issues during Nigeria’s 59thindependence anniversary, suggested that the executive arm of government shouldliaise with the National Assembly on grey areas of the already passed PIGB sothat the President can sign it into law.
According to the Association, this willdefinitely open the floodgate for other parts of the PIB to be worked on andpassed by the National Assembly.
In an open letter to President MuhammaduBuhari, which was signed by its president and general secretary, Michael Ohaeri,and Lumumba Okugbawa respectively, PENGASSAN said anxiety within the communitieswaiting to benefit from the PIBs’ provision of 10 per cent host community fundcontinues to grow.
It noted that the absence of communitystake in oil production activities remains an insidious motivator for perennialoil installations’ vandalism.The union also called for a decisiveaction on the deregulation of downstream oil sector and removal of fuel subsidy,noting that the focus of deregulation should be based on local productionrather than importation.It argued that abrupt removal of fuelsubsidy would create chaos that may ground the economy, while calling forwell-coordinated measures with timeline to achieve self-sufficiency in localrefining as a means of ending fuel subsidy.
The union explained that an aspect of thePIB should mandate International Oil Companies (IOCs), to refine certainpercentage of their crude production locally. The letter read in part: “This should becombined with such other measures for effective optimisation of gas especiallyfor domestic, industrial, electricity and automotive energy. Such will createother affordable and friendly sources for energy needs.”
On the nation’s poor power supply andinfrastructure deficit, the union said: “PENGASSAN acknowledges the on-goingreforms targeted at developing infrastructure but the challenges still persist.There is an urgent need for the government to finish critical infrastructureprojects in roads, rail, dredging and maintenance of ports, as these willimprove investment.
“Despite the tremendous effort to generate morepower, the transmission network is currently overloaded due to poor maintenanceand vandalism.“The Government should begin to earnestly lookat off grid solutions using conventional sources as well as encourage privateinvestments in power generation and distribution.”