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Judiciary tasked on implementation of PIA

By Ngozi Egenuka
31 August 2021   |   4:16 am
The judiciary has been charged to thoroughly enforce the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 26, 2018 A gas flare burns at the Batan flow station operated by Chevron under a joint-venture arrangement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the onshore and offshore assets in the Niger Delta region. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

The judiciary has been charged to thoroughly enforce the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.

They were also advised on researching about the Act to be updated on the industry and how to tackle issues arising from the sector.

This was disclosed at the book launch and presentation of ‘Laws on oil and gas exploration and production in Nigeria,’ a text in honour of the Chairman of AA Holdings, Austin Avuru, to commemorate 2021 National Petroleum Day.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Petroleum Industry Bill (PIA) and the rest of us’, Managing Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi LP, Prof Konyinsola Ajayi (SAN), said PIA should catalyse the nation into the future and eliminate set backs in the oil industry.

He noted that Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) should be a basis for change of Oil and Gas, Exploration and Production, restructuring JVs, funding, listing, instilling of enterprise risk culture and of excellence in the industry.

He stressed the need to focus on the youth creative energy in the society by developing and beneficiating the vocation economy in oil and gas.

“We should focus on vocational training for thousand of youths, especially those unemployed, so they can learn such skills and offer their services to companies and can even become export talents bringing in foreign exchange in a manner that gives the nation pride,” he said.

According to him, oil an gas industry should step into data economy, that is, looking at bitcoin mining and at the same time reduce damage to environment, avoiding poverty, small mindedness, host hostility, area boy mentality, and parasitic claims.

“We need to address resource control more truthfully, reduce sub-sovereign dependence, thereby engender fiscal federalism, oppose the use of regulation to over tax and inhibit business growth, tackle regulatory in fighting, inconsistency and anti-citizen aggression. Let us do these and enjoy the PIA before it gets dark as we are still in the evening,” Ajayi said.

He stated that beyond corruption and mismanagement of funds, Nigeria has failed to attract sufficient investment to optimally harness its reserves.

According to him, between 2015 and 2019, Nigeria attracted only four per cent of the $75 billion investment made in Africa’s oil and gas industry.

And of the $9.68 billion invested in Nigeria in 2020, only 0.55 per cent was made in the oil and gas industry, he claimed.

“The numbers get more alarming, as between 2010 and 2019, Nigeria earned $418.5 billion from petroleum and in the same period, Nigeria remains neck-deep in debt and is still at best, a developing State, but by other estimates a failing state or at the brink of failure.

“What we can say for certain is that our dear NNPC and its subsidiaries as well as its affiliates have become huge enterprises with big offices, but failed promise. The current leadership is doing its best, but the question is whether PIA has done it justice, given its history, trials and tribulations.

Avuru said that if the interpretation of the PIA falls in line with what has been previously obtainable in the sector, the nation would be chasing foreign and local investors away.

He said until humans begin to make focused decisions, the nation would remain at same level it was, void of sustainable growth and development.

He noted that the book, written by 43 University lecturers, is a body of legal work for the benefit of the academia and legal profession in Nigeria.

“The book is a great contribution to the existing body of literature on oil and gas law. With 1103 pages, it touches on conceptual issues of sources and importance of oil and gas to the economy.

It also touches on complex issues of allocation and acquisition of ownership rights, licensing for oil and gas exploration, exploitation and installation, taxation, environmental and compensation, including local content, access to justice and human rights,” he said.