Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Senate Committee Chairman on Petroleum Upstream, Senator Donald Alasoadura tuesday stated that the Senate had advanced its works on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) currently before it and would pass it into law latest by April 2017.
Alasoadura said this in a plenary session at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja where panelists, including the Group Chief Executive of Oando Plc, Wale Tinubu and Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, discussed how new legislations and policies could transform Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
He said the bill which seeks to address all governance-related issues in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, would by the end of March go through its third reading, adding that without any unforeseen delays, it would become a law afterwards.
Alasoadura also stated that the Senate would subsequently pass two additional laws to complement the PIGB, although, he did not disclose the two other bills to be passed.
“Once a bill gets to its third reading, it is as good as being passed. We are expecting the bill to be passed in March or latest by April.
“The local content law will also be properly taken care of. We have asked for areas of amendment from the Executive Secretary and we will be glad to do it,” he said.
The senator further stated: “‘We know we need laws that are in line with international standards. We need an NNPC that will be smooth, commercially oriented, that can run smoothly and make money.”
According to him, the legislators have decided to have only one regulatory body in the sector to ease the process of doing business and attract more investments.
“That it takes time like a year to set up a business in the industry is an aberration. We are thinking of when we have a timeline for all businesses to be completed within six months,” Alasoadura added.
Also speaking, Wabote stated that a comprehensive implementation of the Nigerian Content Law could help operators in the oil industry cut down on their projects’ cost.
He said: “Local content brings down costs and this is the time for local content to grow. Government is establishing the Nigerian Development Bank to fund local content and local contractors. That will give genuine Nigerian investors funding at good interest rates.”
Wabote further stated that: “The objective is not to seek profit but to help local investors. We will make sure that the bank is helping Nigerian companies.”
Similarly in his remarks, Tinubu stated that until the government fully deregulates Nigeria’s downstream sector, the sector would remain ineffective for a long time.
According to Tinubu: “The essence of policy is to drive logic, hence the only way to freeing the NNPC is to pass those policies we seek. For instance, no country trucks products for more than 1,000 kilometres except in wartimes. We spend more fuel trucking products across the country.”