By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Nigeria loses about $15 billion per annum in investments following the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Senator Gershom Bassey has said.
The Senator representing the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State who is the team Leader of National Assembly Subcommittee on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), disclosed this when the committee paid a visit to the Governor of Ondo State, Arakurin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in his office.
“In the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), as well as the lack of much needed reforms over the last decade have created a climate of uncertainty in Nigeria’s oil sector which has not been conducive in attracting further investments”.
“As we are aware, Nigeria is Africa’s largest Oil and Gas producers and the Petroleum sector has long suffered from frequent scandals, mismanagement and lack of coherent guidelines and regulations”.
Gershom stated further that the commercial exploitations of hydrocarbon in the country is about six decades over which period the sector has witnessed several formal and informal reforms progressively evolving from passive participation to prominent indigenous players.
He added that due to obsolete policies, practices , laws, and regulations , a new reform of the sector which commenced in 2000 is expected to take the sector to greater heights and ensure that Nigeria manages her petroleum resources in line with global best practices.
Senator Bassey stated that one of the novel initiatives to successfully reform the petroleum industry was the need to split the omnibus PIB into four logical pieces of bills.
“In March 2018, the Petroleum Governance Bill, PIGB, the first of the four Bills fully passed though both Houses of the National Assembly and now with the President for assent.The remaining three Bills: Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, PIAB, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill, PIFB, and the Petroleum Host Community Bill, PHCB, complement the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, to ensure holistic reform of the petroleum industry” he said.
He explained that the PIAB describes how the industry ought to be managed in great detail ensuring that licensing provisions as well as ensuring that the sector operates with the greatest ease of doing business.
“The PHCB on its own is created for the development and management of Communities that host petroleum operations and facilitate and to ensure fair returns to all stakeholders as well as guarantee peaceful co-existence with operators”.
Senator Bassey also disclosed that it was in the light of this that the Senate Joint Committee on PIB decided to set aside some days to visit Oil Producing Areas/ Host Communities to discuss with the Chief Executives of states, stakeholders, and Host Communities to assess on the spot the progress level impacted on the host communities.
In his remarks, the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on his part expressed delight at the recent efforts by the Federal Government to integrate repentant militants into the amnesty programme.
He said during the Vice Presidents Professor Yemi Osibanjo during a recent visit to the state had hinted that the government had directed the amnesty office to urgently take action on the integration of militants who recently laid down their arms in Ondo state.
The governor noted that the integration of the militants into the amnesty programme was overdue stated that the restiveness in the oil producing areas were consequent upon the lack of care for both the people and communities in the areas by the oil prospecting companies.
‘We told them to lay down their arms and promised to integrate them into the amnesty programme which they accepted and laid down their arms it is a bargain which must be kept”
The governor equally expressed hope that all legislation that would come from the Petroleum Industry Bill including the one passed already passed by the National Assembly and the incoming ones particularly the Petroleum Host Communities Bill would bring about the much needed development through the petroleum resources potentials of the country.
By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar