No reforms to upgrade industry

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In addition, President Buhari in 2018, declined to sign into law, a reform bill – the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), which experts believed could halt the decline and gradually restore comprehensive productivity in the industry.

According to industry experts, this meant that the industry would continue to operate with the 1969 law, in addition to a couple of administrative alterations at the NNPC or other agencies in the industry, but not a holistic reform as expected with the PIGB.

Speaking in a recent interview, the President of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics, Prof. Yinka Omoregbe, in a recent interview told THISDAY that: “There is no alternative to reform.”

Omorogbe, added that: “The world isn’t waiting for Nigeria, petroleum discoveries are constantly being made in many other countries, and electric cars signal the end of the era of petroleum.

“I hope that Nigeria finally creates an optimal legal and regulatory framework that will allow the emergence of a petroleum industry that works for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians. I believe that the new GMD understands the urgency and imperative of reform, and so I am expectant.”

Therefore, by choosing to continue with the 1969 Petroleum Act, and delaying reforms through the Petroleum Industry Bills (PIB), the NEITI in its 2016 policy brief clarified that the country was at the losing end when compared with what she had lost and continues to lose to market and governance failures.

It said the derivatives of such lack of reforms in the sector included imprecise rules, excessive regulatory discretion, and the fusion of regulatory, policy and operator roles.

The NEITI equally added that corruption, lack of transparency and accountability in the oil sector were consequences in a chain of ripple effects from the lack of reforms, leading ultimately to a severely underperforming economy, loss of benefits to the country, and a largely impoverished population.