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CSO seeks review of Petroleum Industry Act

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Spaces for Change (S4C) has urged the National Assembly to consider an amendment of the troubling sections of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to reflect the true aspirations of the Nigerian people, especially host communities.

The Federal Government, however, has said the implementation of the Act will start next year. In a statement, yesterday, signed by its Executive Director, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, S4C charged all stakeholders to work together to realise the goals set by the PIA for the overall benefit of Nigerians.

Last Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Petroleum industry Bill (PIB), which had been pending in the National Assembly for about two decades, into law. But the signing was dogged by protestations, as stakeholders allege that the original bill was doctored to give undue advantage to some part of the country.

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“S4C welcomes the news regarding the final passage of PIB and its signing into law by President Buhari on Monday, August 16, 2021. The new PIA 2021 provides a structured legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, and the development of host communities.

“Despite its laudable provisions, the PIB (now PIA) was signed without resolving the controversies and criticisms that had trailed it over the years, especially as they affect host communities and the huge allocation to frontier inland basins.”

The Senate had passed the bill on July 15, 2021, while the House of Representatives followed on July 16, thus, ending the long wait for regulation of the sector.

It said the Presidency aligned with the National Assembly on the 30 per cent allocation for the development of frontier basins and three per cent for host communities.

“Although the new legislation provides the needed clarity on laws regulating the operations of the oil and gas sector, critical sections of the Act negate the achievement of its ultimate objectives,” the statement added.

The controversial sections include Clauses 104 (1), 109 (4), 235, 240 (2) and 9 (4) & (5). The group argued that the PIA not only showed bias for frontier basins, despite lack of evidence on the viability and commercial profitability of these ventures, it also did not learn from history to address past mistakes, neither does it adequately address the concerns of the host communities in Nigeria.

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