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Don urges Buhari, National Assembly to expedite action on PIB

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Muhammadu Buhari

‘Why electricity tariff should increase’

A professor of Petroleum Economics, Akin Iwayemi, has called on the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari to expedite action on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to optimise the benefits in the oil sector.

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According to Iwayemi, if the PIB becomes an Act of Parliament, the major challenges in the sector would be addressed.

In an interview with The Guardian in Ibadan, Iwayemi, formerly at the Centre for Petroleum, Energy Economics and Law (CEEPL), University of Ibadan, lamented that the PIB has not seen the light of the day despite the fact that its process started the same time with that of the Power Reform Act, which has become law.

“The discussion about deregulating the oil industry and power sector started at the same time. Whereas the Electricity Power Reform Act was passed into law in 2005 the PIB has not been passed since that time. Political reasons are responsible for this delay.

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“The law would address a lot of challenges in the sector. In fact, it would have addressed the major ones. What is clear to analysts in the sector is that we have to separate the players from regulators and allow a level-playing field for all participants in the sector to operate.

“My advice to the National Assembly and the President is to accelerate the process of making the bill to become an Act of Parliament to allow investors to come and participate in the industry. The lack of an Act of Parliament in the industry has resulted in people not coming to invest in the sector,” he said.

On the power sector, Iwayemi said: “We need to adjust the price in the power sector. The price has to increase to a level that will allow the investors to invest in that industry. I would have thought that one of the areas the current government should have declared an economic emergency is in the power sector. This is because if you don’t have power, it will affect so many things, including economic and social activities.

“When you are in economic crises that we are in now because of fall in price of oil, small and medium scale enterprises can operate in a better environment. The jobless youth can do something. But when electricity is not working and you leave it like that, there would be economic crises.”

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