Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector on Thursday welcomed the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly after almost two decades.
The stakeholders in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, noted that the passage of the bill was being greeted with caution until its contents are made public.
The stakeholders are: Mr Muda Yusuf, Director General, Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Mr Tunji Oyebanji, Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).
It also included Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
NAN reports that the bill, which has five parts, eight schedules and 319 clauses was passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives on Thursday.
The legislation is aimed at “promoting transparency, good governance and accountability in the oil and gas sector.”
Yusuf said the LCCI was pleased with the passage of the bill with the proviso that the concerns raised by stakeholders have been dealt with by the lawmakers in the final draft.
He said: “I think the passage of the PIB is a very good development. It is a major instrument of reforms in the petroleum sector and it has quite a number of significant implications.
“First, it has investment implications. It provides better clarity around the policy regime, the regulatory regime in the petroleum sector.
“We are likely to see more investments because investors confidence is likely to grow with this new policy environment.
The delay in the passage of the bill for many years created a lot of uncertainty around the petroleum industry.
“So what has happened has a very positive implication for investment.”
Yusuf said the bill would also increase quality job creation as investments in the sector grows.
He said the PIB would also improve tax revenue accruing to government while at the same time transforming Nigeria into a petroleum refining hub.
“It will not only save our foreign exchange but will improve our capacity to export downstream products such as petrochemicals, fertiliser, diesel, fuel and gas-based products.
“This will come from the boost in private investments in the downstream sector.
“However, there is a proviso. I am hoping that all the concerns investors raised during the public hearing were incorporated or taken account of in the passage of this bill.
“Otherwise, we might not achieve the kind of results we want,” Yusuf added.
Also, Oyebanji said the passage of the PIB after several years of delay was a welcome news.
“But I don’t know what has been passed finally. I hope it is something that will move the industry, both upstream, downstream and host communities forward.
“I know what we recommended but I don’t know what has been passed,” he said.
Similarly, Okoronkwo said IPMAN would only respond to the passage of the bill when all the items are made available. (NAN)