Reps’ deputy leader blames politics, powerful groups for decay in oil sector
Deputy Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Peter Akpatason, yesterday blamed the pursuit of personal and sectional interests by those entrusted with the responsibility of administering the country for the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Akpatason, who bared his mind on the issue at an interactive session with reporters, said the bill would come into effect if the Executive and Legislative arms, in conjunction with critical stakeholders in the oil sector, strike a middle course on salient issues relating to the reform of the oil sector.
He said: “We actually produced the first document that translated to the PIB document that the Executive eventually produced. But you see, PIB is such a highly politicised project all the way from the Executive where it emanates and even right here in the National Assembly because there are lots of contending factors – a lot of interests all over the place.
“The multinationals form a block of interest. In politics, we have our various interests and the refining block is another factor. The marketers are another factor and transporters another big factor. A lot of people are benefitting from a dysfunctional oil and gas industry and these people are very powerful, highly entrenched interests – people that can manipulate anything possible in this country.
“That is why even in the drafts, you see elements of political twisting and if you try to correct it at the level of committees and the rest of them, these interests still come to play.”
“I believe that the only way that we can have PIB that will scale through without much delays is for the Executive and the Legislative arms of government to sit down together and get some experts to work out the best draft that we can get.
“One single PIB will not help the case because that was what actually scuttled it in the first place when we placed everything together and some of the provisions were not acceptable to the government and because of those few provisions, the President declined assent to that document.
“We started breaking it down again and even at that, we still had challenges, but we must depoliticise the oil and gas bill for it to see the light of the day. That is just the problem.”