The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB).
Its Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa urged the President to remember his promise to provide appropriate legal and regulatory framework for the optimal performance of the oil and gas sector.
He urged the National Assembly to shift its focus on the passage of the outstanding components of the PIB addressing host community issues and the fiscal framework for the sector, without which Nigerians could not have the PIB in place.
“We call on civil society, citizens and the media to remain vigilant until the battle for the passage of all the versions of a people-oriented and national interest serving PIB is won,’’ he said.
He commended the National Assembly for the passage of the long- awaited PIGB.
He recalled that following the passage of the Bill by the two chambers, CISLAC and its partners had been engaging the relevant committees to conclude the harmonisation and have it ready for Presidential Assent in time.
He said: ‘’CISLAC observes that the passage of the PIB was one of the campaign promises of the administration to be delivered within the first one year in office; the commitment had been reiterated in the Federal Government’s short and medium-term priorities to grow Nigeria’s oil & gas industry 2015–2019, and ought to have been passed by the first quarter of 2017. It is, however, better late than never.
‘’We note that the bill has retained many of the proposals put forward by civil society, including CISLAC and her partners during the Public Hearing session, including the unbundling of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
‘’It is pertinent to highlight that the law is not perfect and still retains some vestiges of the old order, such as the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, which seems to contradict the suggested policy direction for deregulation and the establishment of a single regulator for both the downstream and upstream which could be burdensome and lead to inefficiency.”
Musa said there was also a lack of clarity on the proposed five per cent fuel levy in terms of manner and stages for collection.
He observed that this is the closest Nigerians have ever been to such legislation in 12 years and represents our greatest opportunity to have a law that will substantially address the lack of strong and clear institutions governing the sector and address the uncertainty in the sector that have resulted in loss of revenues, absence of investment and monumental corruption.