.Seeks passage of four other aspects of reform bill
Oil workers under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has stated that Nigeria has lost over $235 billion as a result of its inability to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law since the reform in the Nigeriaâ€™s oil and gas industry was kick-started 17 years ago.
The union has therefore charged the National Assembly to pass the other aspects of the PIB – the Petroleum Fiscal Framework Bill; the Petroleum Industry Downstream Administration Bill; the Petroleum Industry Revenue Management Framework Bill and the Petroleum Host Community Bill, into law.
In a statement at the weekend, the Chairman of NUPENG and PENGASSAN Petroleum Industry Bill Committee, Comrade Chika Hyginus Onuegbu commended the Senate led by the Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki and its Joint Committee on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) led by Senator Tayo Alasoadura for the passage of the Petroleum industry Governance Bill (PIGB) 2016.
He said the passage of the PIGB was a milestone achievement, especially as it was not an Executive Bill.
Onuegbu, however, noted that the PIGB only deals with the one aspect of the PIB, which is the governance and institutional framework of the Nigerian petroleum industry.
â€œAlso, when you consider that Nigeria has lost over $235 billion due to its inability to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill into law since the reform in the Nigerian Petroleum industry was kick-started 17 years ago. We therefore look forward to the concurrent passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) into law by the Federal House of Representatives and also eventual accent by the President of Nigeria,â€ he explained.
He added that the passage of the PIGB is commendable but will not deliver the full benefits of the intended reforms except if the other aspects of the PIB are also legislated.
Onuegbu also argued that there is no mention of the Petroleum Host Community Fund in the PIGB, adding that one of the major challenges facing the industry is host community and Niger Delta issues.
According to him, before the recent truce initiated by the Acting President when he visited the Niger Delta, militant Attacks in the region had led to significant amounts of shut-in production at onshore and shallow offshore fields.
â€œYou will recall for instance that Nigeriaâ€™s 2016 budget was based on Crude oil export of 2.2mln bpd with MTEF projections of 2.347mln and 2.469mln bpd for 2017 and 2018 respectively. Unfortunately, due to the Militancy in the Niger Delta, Nigeriaâ€™s crude oil export in 2016 only averaged some 1.5mln bpd creating a deficit of some 700,000 bpd in export, thereby worsening her economic crises and pushing the country deeper into recession, exchange rate crises, and stagflation.
Therefore, it is important that any legislation to address the challenges in the Nigerian oil and gas industry must make provisions on how to effectively address the Petroleum Host community issues,â€ Onuegbu explained.
Onuegbu also stressed that fiscal regimes aspect of the PIB is not included in the PIGB, adding that this aspect will â€œguide the final decision of the International investors on how much to invest as it has direct impact on the profitability or other wise of the investments in the Nigerian oil and gas sector vis â€“a-vis other Petroleum host countriesâ€.