SOME oil and gas stakeholders have expressed concern over non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law, urging the Federal government to expedient action on passing the bill into the laws before end of the month.
The Chairman of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Mr Folorunsho Oginni, said that none passage of the bill had lingered for long and it has hindered inventors from investing into the industry.
He advised both the executive and legislators arms of government to encourage passage of the PIB bill into laws to grow of the country economy.
The union boss said the bill which is aimed at overhauling the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), creating an independent regulator, fostering a greater role for home-grown oil groups and reversing under-investment should be expediently passed into law.
He said: “Since the bill has been submitted to the president for approval it should not take eternity for the legislators to deliberate on it for passage into law. I urged the draft of the PIB would get to the National Assembly on time for speedy passage of the long-awaited oil bill into law.
The Chairman, Western chapter of NUPENG, Mr Tokunbo Korodo, observed that the bill ought to have been passed into law, adding that the bill was critical to the development of the oil and gas sector.
He, however, advised the legislators to ensure prompt and speedy passing of the bill into laws for enhance profitability and socio-economy development of the country, stressing that the government should understand that the bill was long overdue to be passed into laws.
According to him, the bill began the process for addressing the various challenges in the petroleum sector by constituting the first Oil and Gas Reform Implementation Committee (OGIC) in 2000 by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo .
Korodo said that the bill which had severally generated controversies that led to different versions of the before the National Assembly should be lay to rest before the end of the year.
The Executive Director of African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Mr David Ugolor, stated that the common message from Nigerians was the bill that could tackle petroleum industry challenges and enhance the economy was the passage of PIB.
Ugolor said: “There was a general consensus that the only way forward for the Federal Government to speed the reform is through the PIB. I was encouraged further when President Goodluck Jonathan, in presidential speech, told Nigerians that he would make the passage of PIB passed into law a reality.
According to him, PIB would definitely help to improve the Nigerian economy in several ways, considering the fact that oil and gas sector had remained the major source of foreign exchange to the country.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, had said that the final version of the revised Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be ready for submission to the National Assembly in the next 10 to 14 days.
She disclosed this in an interview with the State House correspondents shortly after submitting the revised Bill to the President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa.
Allison-Madueke stated the President, after receiving the Bill, directed her ministry in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to carry out a final overview and present same to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
According to her, the entire process of the review and presentation before FEC would be completed in good time, assuring that the revised Bill would be forwarded to the legislative arm for passage.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources said: “I am very pleased to say that the Special Task Force on the PIB and the PIB Technical Committee have today submitted their report to myself and Mr President with other stakeholders from government and the industry present as well.
“The work has taken over a period of in totality of about six months because of the extensive revision of the Bill that has been done. A lot of details have gone in to it, we have looked into fiscal regime, we have looked at the reconfiguration of NNPPC to ensure that going forward, it becomes the commercial entity that it should have been all along.
“And we have looked at other administrative roles within the entire gamut of the sector as well. I think that the teams have done a very good job. At this point, Mr President has directed that the Ministry of Petroleum now takes the Bill and along with the relative government stakeholders do the final overview and prepare it for presentation to the Federal Executive Council,” she stresed.
The Minister said the new bill would re-configure various sections of the industry including the fiscal and the templates for various calculations, adding that the issues of domestic gas, fiscal regime for domestic gas and the reconfiguration of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were critically examined and incorporated in the revised PIB