FG Intervention Can Speed Up Passage of PIB, Says Okowa

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  •  Kachikwu: 10 companies have applied to build modular refineries in Delta

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has expressed worry at the delayed passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly but insisted that intervention by the federal government would speed up passage of the bill.
Okowa made the observation yesterday in Asaba at a stakeholders’ meeting and enlightenment campaign overseen by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resource, Dr Ibe Kachikwu.

He warned that the whole process might fall through and require returning to ground level if the national legislature failed to expedite action on the passage of the bill.
Okowa challenged the minister to impress it on President Muhammadu Buhari the positive potentials of the PIB when passed into law.

Turning to the minister, Okawa said, “Where do we stand with the PIB? It is something you have to put the president in the know because if that bill is not passed next year, the National Assembly will have to start afresh, the whole process.”
He however observed that the passage of the PIB would address most of the issues affecting the oil industry, and sued for openness by all stakeholders in the industry.

While commending Kachikwu for directly engaging stakeholders in the oil industry, the governor noted, “There is the need for constant interface between the oil companies and the communities. We need to consolidate on the peace we have now; there should be sincerity and openness in our dealings.”

Okowa also reiterated the need for oil companies to have operational offices in their respective areas of operation, maintaining that the federal government should prevail on the companies in this regard, by compelling them to relocate their headquarters accordingly.

According to Okowa, “There is no reason why their operational offices should not be here (their areas of primary operation). It is important; it will also impact on our internally generated revenue (IGR) and the psychological effect that you have to move to states outside your areas of operations is not fair. The federal government should have a time lag for the oil companies to move to their areas of operations.”

While noting that the federal government has shown commitment to the opening of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko by releasing the sum of N1 billion, Governor Okowa also, disclosed that his administration has released the sum of N100 million to assist in the effective take off of the university, and called on the people in the riverine communities to be patient as actions are also on for work to commence at the Gas Revolution Industrial Project.

The minister, Kachikwu, had earlier underlined the importance of the stakeholders meeting as a Memorandum of Understanding which would take care of issues discussed would be prepared and time line for its implementation set.
He commended traditional rulers and their subjects for maintaining peace in the region, disclosing that 10 companies have applied to build modular refineries in Delta State while work at the Gas City project, Ogidigben would soon commence as efforts were on to get more investors in the various sections of the project.

Kachikwu said: “We are bringing back the financiers of the Gas City Project, we want to also, let you know that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources have not given out contract for pipeline protection, the Maritime University is on course and we believe that by August/September next year, academic activities will commence, the federal government has released N1 billion for the project, President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to ensuring that things are done right for Nigerians.”

He assured that efforts were also on to make the seaports in the state more viable.
Traditional rulers, representatives of different oil companies, community leaders among other stakeholders spoke about how to ensure peaceful work environment for the petroleum industry operators.