Waiting for PIB
As the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, enters second reading at National Assembly, Senate President, others commit to a passage as the oil industry expects balanced legislation
That second reading will now come up on Tuesday, October 20, when the Senate will debate the bill.
The Senate president has indicated that Nigerians are anxiously awaiting the passage of the bill into law. According to him, they believe that the bill will streamline operations in the oil and gas sector and boost investors’ confidence in Nigeria.
The Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE, for instance, is of the view that passage of the bill would boost investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
The Chairman, SPE Nigeria, Mr Joseph Nwakwue, expressed the belief while speaking with journalists in Lagos. Lamenting the non-passage of the bill for nearly 19 years, he said the development had created uncertainties that have negatively affected Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
“We used to be a choice destination for investment, but, I am afraid we have lost that place over time. Key considerations for investors are resource endowment/density, fiscal terms, ease of doing business etc.
“We have slipped by most measures but there is scope for a rebound if we get the PIB right. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has said hopefully it will be passed before the year ends; we are hoping and praying that this happens,” Nwakwue asserted.
As Nigeria’s oil and gas industry anticipates passage of the PIB into law, the Executive Director, Commercial & Strategy, Total Exploration & Production Ltd, Mr. George Oguachuba, called for balance in the bill. He made the call while delivering a lecture on the ‘E&P Value Chain, Business and Key Stakeholders’ during a one-day virtual media workshop organised by the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, NAPE.
“We need to have a balanced PIB that works for everyone so as to be proud of what would be left to generations, even yet unborn,” he said.
With over 30 years of ersc working experience in the oil and gas industry, Mr. Oguachuba hopes that the proposed bill has the upstream at its center because, according to him, without exploration, all other arms in the industry would cease to exist.
He also called for the right incentives that would encourage exploration activities. “The Federal Government should have it at the back of their minds that for exploration to thrive after we might have remitted all charges to the government account, we also need to have enough to continue to stay in business, balance our budgets, and attend to our expenses,” he said.
He alleged that stakeholders are yet to see the revised PIB, with respect to the old version; but, assured that the challenges and needs of the host communities would be properly addressed.
President Buhari himself said he was awaiting the passage of the bill to sign it into law as he called on the House of Representatives to pass it speedily. He made the call in his letter transmitting the PIB to the House, titled, ‘Transmission of The Petroleum Industry Bill 2020 For Consideration And Passage Into Law’. The president made the same call for a quick passage of the bill while presenting the 2021 budget to the National Assembly.