Give us schedule for PIGB implementation, stakeholders tell FG
Concerned stakeholders in the country’s petroleum industry have appealed to the Federal Government to spell out the timetable for the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) if it eventually becomes a law.
The bill is current with the Presidency, awaiting the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A panel of energy experts who spoke at the Annual Conference organised by the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria, expressed the fear that unless the PIGB is insulated with a timeline stating its implementation deadline, its passage into law in an election year (2018) might suffer unnecessary delays if the incumbent Federal Government fails to get re-elected in 2019 to execute the law.
The panelists said over the years, Nigerians had not benefited much from the oil and gas industry due to lack of accountability and transparency, but they assured that with the PIGB which separates the regulatory and commercial functions from the existing Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the country would gain more from the industry.
They said the PIGB would end the regime of political interferences and abuses of previous years in the NNPC, just as they expressed the optimism that the PIGB will assist unlock all dormant potential in the petroleum industry to deliver improved dividend to Nigerians.
The panellists comprised the President, Petroleum Club, Dr. Godswill Ihetu; Team Leader of FOSTER, Mr. Henry Adigun; and a lawyer, Dr. Adeoye Adefulu.
The three of them urged Nigerians to embrace the PIGB as its implementation would give the petroleum industry strong commercial and regulatory institutions that is currently absent and stifling efforts to attract sufficient private sector investments.
Ihetu in his contribution lauded the National Assembly for the timely delivery of PIGB for assent by President Buhari but however noted how the 7th National Assembly had thought they had worked out a successful PIB Act for the country only for the 8th Assembly to jettison it and the process restarted with an attendant loss of billions of dollars to the industry.
“Nigerians have to persuade the Federal Government act on the PIGB as we are in an election year.
There must be an acceleration for the assent by President Buhari so that we don’t lose more money,” Ihetu said.
Adefulu, thus, acknowledged that the PIGB was coming at a time that there was more dissipation of energy on the 2019 elections, adding that this could pose a problem for its implementation.
“We have to stay optimistic because this is the first time that the PIB has gotten to the President.
Nigerians have to put the pressure to ensure that President Buhari signs it into law,” Adefulu noted.