The Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) which has been with the National Assembly over a decade now was drafted with the circumstances of the time in mind.
As a result, experts believe that the bill has to be re-drafted to suit the present circumstance otherwise; it would be counter-productive if passed at its current form.
Mr. Vincent Nwani, the Director of Research and Advocacy, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said that LCCI would continue to advocate for the passage of PIB but in a form that would suit the present circumstance, and at tune with the correct reality on the oil and gas sector.
“Everybody wants the PIB to be passed, but at LCCI, we want the PIB passed in the right form, in a form that will encourage existing investments and attract potential investments into the sector.
“The uncertainties surrounding the passage of PIB have made that sector very fragile, very insensitive over the last few years so we need the PIB to be passed in such a way that it keeps the current investments in the sector and attracts further investment,” he said.
Continuing, he said, “Passing the PIB the way it is today will not change anything, it will even make things worse so, how much the current National Assembly will be able to pass the PIB in the right form that will encourage investment remains to be seen. That will be good for Nigerians, good for investors. There is wind of change. We don’t need to be pessimistic, we should remain hopeful”.
He also added that the new bill would seek to break the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into different subsidiaries and will make it a commercial organisation.
Mr. Nwani further expressed optimism on the incoming government but admitted that it would inherit a lot of challenges in all sectors of the economy and the oil and gas sector too. “the incoming government hold a lot of promises but you will agree with me that it will inherit a lot of challenges be it in the maritime, oil and gas, manufacturing sectors.
In the maritime sector, there are operational, regulatory and security issues it will inherit. In terms of security issues, there is increase in vandalization of pipelines, distinction of oil and gas facilities and in terms of regulatory, the almighty PIB has been in the National Assembly ever a decade now. The joint venture (JV) agreement between the International Oil Companies (IOC) and the Federal Government (FG) is there not funded. The government is indebted to almost $100b that JV is not paid. These are also the issues of fuel subsidy and fuel scarcity. There are whole gamut of issues that confront the incoming administration”