Onadeko: Buhari Has a Duty to Sign the PIGB into Law

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The recent mix-up on the whereabouts of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) has continued to raise concerns amongst stakeholders in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. Chineme Okafor, caught up with Ms. Ronke Onadeko, who is an energy and power consultant to the government of Ogun State, as well as a member of the Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) of the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC). She subsequently lent her voice to the debate, firmly stating that it was the job of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the bill into law. Excerpts:

Recently, Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) issued updated guidance to help support the next wave of UK offshore oil and gas field developments, Nigeria on the hand seems not in a hurry to get the PIGB passed into law, what does this say of our priorities?

A bill that was initiated in 2000 to craft a framework for fiscal terms and regulation of the major income generating sector of the Nigeria economy, still unresolved 18 years after shows that our leaders lack an understanding of its importance and the effect it has on national income generation, generating jobs and deepening the exploitation of the oil and gas resources.

Do you have an idea of where the PIGB is? The president recently said he does not have it, the NASS once said it has passed it to him, these suggest uncertainty in the system. Are we back to the old ways and fears of the bill failing to become law at the tail-end of a legislative era?

I am unware that the President is not in the know of the location of the bill, it is not an item that can get lost. Perhaps the resolution of the stalemate between the National Assembly and the Executive will bring an end to this confusion.

From your standpoint, what could go wrong, do you have faith in the PIGB becoming a law in this era, what reasons buttress your position?
Yes, the PIGB will become a law in this era. The level of collaboration in recent times between the Senate and the lower house should be emulated by the legislative and executive to bring the passage to pass.

Going into the 2019 elections, industry sources and experts like yourself feel the president could take a huge political bonus from the passage and assent of the PIGB into law, do you share this view, given a chance to advise, what would you tell him that could push him to act fast?

My view is that Mr. President has the duty to assent, His Excellency will not get a bonus for doing the job he was elected to do, and his prompt assent will only show him to be capable to discharge his duties.

If we don’t pass the PIGB, are there options the industry could leverage to overcome its current challenges in a global oil market that’s increasingly volatile and dynamic?
While we await the passage of the PIB as a whole or in part, reforms and improvement across the function can yield better improved management of our natural resource and yield financial and other non-financial benefits to Nigeria and Nigerians such as accountability of government spending, receipts and income; transparency of contracts, processes to citizens; stronger institutions; weaker discretionary powers; care and attention to the environment.