Group tasks petroleum minister on passage of Petroleum Industry Bill

• As NASS awaits two Executive PIB promised by Buhari

Social Action, a Civil Society Organisation based in Abuja, on Monday, tasked the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Timipre Sylva, on the need to ensure timely transmission and passage of the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) during his tenure.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had, during the presentation of the 2020 budget estimates to the joint session of the National Assembly, solicited for the support of the Parliamentarians for the timely passage of the two Petroleum Industry Executive bills which will be forwarded shortly.

Recall that President Goodluck Jonathan and his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari had declined assents to the PIB passed by the 7th and 8th Assemblies.

However, in his speech during the presentation of the 2020 budget estimates to the joint session of the National Assembly, President Buhari pledged his resolve to send two Executive bills on Petroleum Industry to the National Assembly as part of his quest for consideration to complete the reforms to the governance and fiscal terms of the petroleum industry with the view to provide certainty and attract further investments into the sector as well as job creation and increase government’s take.

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While stressing the need to ensure timely passage of the law with the view to unlock the huge potentials in the oil and gas industry, Social Action’s Head of National Advocacy, Mrs Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor in a statement titled: “Make the Petroleum Industry Bill a first-line charge,” assured that the passage of the bill will impact positively on nation’s socio-economic and well-being of the citizens.

“The appointment of Minister of Petroleum Resources is one that has a lot of import for not only the nations beleaguered oil industry but also the Niger Delta and country as a whole.

“As new minister of petroleum, no doubt, the tasks before the Minister are enormous: from the challenges of the downstream to the roughages that line the mid and upstream sectors, to the traumatized environment and region bearing the oil, it is, without doubt, a full cup.

“Effective delivery will to a large extent be a factor of proper priority placement and in this regard the long-drawn petroleum industry Bill, PIB needs to be placed in proper focus.

“Noble as the objectives of this bill may be, with part of its aim seeking to establish framework for the creation of commercially oriented and profit-driven petroleum entities to ensure value addition and internalization of the petroleum industry, the PIB has suffered seemingly intractable setbacks in its legislative journey, leading to its non-passage since introduction in 2008 till date.

“The bill which was meant to establish key institutions for the Oil and Gas industry, provides effective regulation of operations and operators in the industry in line with global best practices and cater for the interest and aspirations of local host communities in the industry has been left comatose in Nigeria’s parliament with the Oil and Gas industry operating in similar status, replete with archaic laws and outdated policies that have worked to truncate the country’s socio-economic development goals.

“Mindful of the fact the PIB holds far-reaching import for both the environment and economy of the country, we urge the new Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Silva, to take on the task of delivering this bill pointedly and make it a focal action point of his mandate to see to it that the PIB breaks the jinx of bill status to being a law.

“Such a landmark feat will no doubt see ripple effect across the nation’s socio-economic sector,” Bellonwu-Okafor noted.

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