Combating forces against passage of Petroleum Industry Bill
EnergyDay Editorial Board
The National Assembly which had expressed the intent to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in April 2021, have once again failed to do so, failure which this magazine finds embarrassing and unpatriotic that once again, the National Assembly have refused to rise to the challenge of the opportunity to improve oil and gas governance structure ,which the bill portends if passed into law.
The Petroleum Industry Bill is an omnibus Bill, which seeks to provide legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host communities and for related matters.
The bill, which is 20 years in the making, underpins everything from oil exploration to gas pipelines and fuel regulation and was sent by President Muhammadu Buhari to the senate in September 2020.
What then is responsible for the delay in passing the bill into law? This medium is of the view that some forces who are enemies of the good of the country are behind the non passage of the bill into law. Then,why should some personalities and forces be more powerful than the interest of Nigeria?
We are highly concerned and deeply worried that the National Assembly could allow itself to be used to delay the passage of the bill into law.
We view this delay as unpatriotic given that the bill would change the structure of state oil company NNPC, restore investors’ confidence, amend oil and gas taxes and revenue-sharing and create new regulatory bodies, among other things, to make Nigeria’s oil sector more dynamic and efficient.
It is no longer news that the laws governing Nigeria’s oil and gas exploration have not been fully updated since the 1960s because of the contentious nature of any change to oil taxes, the terms of exploration, and revenue-sharing formula.
EnergyDay is aware of the anxiety of Nigeria over the status of the bill and traction it is gaining in national discourse after more than 20 years.
This medium shares the optimism of many Nigerians that , It will, upon enactment, completely overhaul the regulatory and fiscal framework guiding Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. Specifically, it will repeal the Petroleum Act, Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT) Act, Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act as amended (DOIBPSCA), and several other laws which currently govern the industry. However, there are saving provisions for the operators that choose not to convert to the terms contained in the PIB.
It is our view that the passage of the Bill will contribute to a significant increase in the effectiveness and transparency of operations in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and generate increased foreign interest and, in turn, investment.
Thus, it is imperative to fight the forces against its passage as the interest of those against it, including the much touted international oil companies, can not be greater than the collective interest of Nigeria.
This medium still hopes that the Bill may be enacted into law before the end of the second quarter of 2021 based on the various comments by the leadership of the National Assembly.
We should hold them accountable to their words , and since they are Representatives of the people the voice of the people should prevail in this matter.
We are highly convinced that Bill is the silver bullet that will cure the ills in the Nigeria’s oil industry. Though many issues will arise, one of which is the attraction of investment into the Oil and gas Industry.
According to the Nigerian Capital Importation Report just released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the total capital imported into the country in 2020 was $9.68billion. Out of this, $53.51million or 0.55% was in respect of oil and gas.
Certainly, Nigeria requires significant investment for the industry to grow. The country’s ambition has been, for a long time, to increase production to 4million barrels per day and grow reserves to 40billion barrels. To achieve these twin ambitions, we need significant inflow of investment.