The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy, (CISLAC) has commended the National Assembly for passing the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB).
Mr Auwal Rafsanjani, Executive Director, CISLAC and Head – Transparency International Nigeria gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Rafsanjani said that CISLAC recalled that in response to intense campaign and advocacy by several groups in civil society, including CISLAC and her partners, the National Assembly passed the PIB.
He said that bill was drafted to provide clear legal framework to regulate the oil and gas sector to provide some certainty, transparency and accountability necessary for investments and maximisation of benefit for Nigerians.
“We are therefore encouraged by the action of the National Assembly which we believe has re-kindled the hope that this elusive and all-important law could see the light of day in the life of this administration.
“CISLAC reminds the Federal Government that the passage of this law was a campaign promise made upon election in 2015 and had been repeated over the past six years in various forms.
“ Indeed, by the schedule of the much publicised seven Big Wins, it ought to have been passed since December 2016.
“It would be unnecessary to remind the Federal Government of the trillion of Naira lost, and 20 years of uncertainty created.
“This led to subsequent loss of investors confidence and investments with all its attendant implication to the sector. Nigeria depends on over 80 per cent of its foreign exchange and about 92 per cent of government earnings,”’he said.
He called on the legislative and administrative sections of the National Assembly to complete the process necessary for the bill to be submitted to the President for Assent.
He said that this would further assure Nigerians of the assembly’s commitment to ensure that the PIB was passed into law during the legislative session .
He said that this would end the 20-year wait for reforms and clear policy and legislative direction for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
”We called on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill upon receipt without further delay as a mark of integrity to fulfil a long standing promise to Nigerians.
According to him, this would demonstrate his commitment to sanitising the oil and gas sector, notorious for corruption.
NAN reports that President Umaru Yar’Adua presented the PIB to the Sixth National Assembly in September 2008.
But the bill stalled over disagreements on the sharing of oil profit among the international oil companies, host communities and the federation, according to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
In July 2012, the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan forwarded a revised version of the PIB to the Seventh Assembly, but it suffered the same fate that befell it in the previous legislative cycle.
It was passed by only the House of Representatives at the tail end of their term.
In the first term of President Buhari, the Eighth NASS split the bill into four parts – the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host Community Bill — in a bid to fast-track its passage into law.
The PIGB was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in May 2017 and January 2018 respectively.
After its passage by the NASS, the PIGB was transmitted to Buhari for assent in July 2018, but he eventually declined to sign the bill into law.
According to the Presidency, the provision of the PIGB permitting the Petroleum Regulatory Commission to retain as much as 10 per cent of the revenue generated is one of the reasons Buhari declined to assent to the bill.
The bill is intended as a complete overhaul of the Nigerian oil and gas sector seeks to, among others, ensure an increased level of transparency and accountability by strengthening governing institutions to attract investments in the industry.
NAN reports that Buhari transmitted the bill 2020 to the National Assembly and proposed the creation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
The proposed law also recommends the creation of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority known as ‘The Authority’, among others (NAN)