Waziri Adio, executive secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), says implementation of laws will reposition and transport the oil and gas sector to become a real blessing and not just a “needless curse”.
Speaking at a symposium on petroleum industry governance bill (PIGB) in Abuja, Adio commended the national assembly for passing PIGB.
He said Nigerians will be deluded to think the job is done after the bill has been transmitted to the president for assent.
Earlier in the week, Omotayo Alasoadura, chairman, senate committee on petroleum resources (upstream), disclosed that the bill will be harmonised and presented for presidential assent by March 30.
Adio said a lot of work needs to be done after the bill has been transmitted to the president for assent.
“Effective implementation of the resultant laws in ways that will reposition and transport our oil and gas sector to become a real blessing and not just a needless curse for our people,” he said.
“Our expectation is that this meeting will address many of the questions that have been asked, including those that are yet to be asked , or at least set us thinking seriously about these questions.
“Some of these include: what transitional arrangements are being made contemplated? What is the plan for the fiscal, host community and administrative bills? How do we create a Pareto optimal equilibrium between revenues for government and returns for investors on one hand and among the geo-political zones on the other.
“How do we ensure that the new institutions created by the bills do not end up as replicas of the existing ones, or even worse.
“For the umpteenth time, NEITI wants to join others to commend the 8th national assembly in getting the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) passed within two years. You will recollect that the PIGB was first introduced in the senate in April 2016. With lots of other conversations in June 2016 and eventually passed by the senate on 25 May 2017.
“The house of representatives followed suit on 19 January this year when it passed its own version of the PIGB.
“Even as we all wait for the harmonised PIGB, it is clear that the landmark has already been recorded. This is the farthest we have come in the petroleum industry growth since 2008 when first PIB was inaugurated, and 2008 when the first PIB was presented to the parliament. The leadership of the 8th national assembly and the relevant committees we hope will join us here today and their members deserve all the commendations they have received on this. The 8th national assembly has succeeded where the 6th and the 7th assembly spectacularly faltered.
“We thank them again for moving this important piece of the nation forward. We also commend the executive arm for providing support and allowing the legislature take the lead on this.”
Adio said despite the divergents views of Nigerians on issues, there seems to be a general perception about the oil and gas sector.
“In Nigeria, it is difficult to have a national consensus on many things but there seems to be one on the oil and gas sector and that is that the status quo is sub-optimal, despite our more than sixty years of experience as an oil-and-gas country,” he said.
“That is why the search for better management and governance of the sector has assumed the salience that it does. But it has turned out to be a long search as we have wondered about as if nothing is at stake and as if the world will wait for us. But there are serious costs, and the world has not waited and will not wait for us.
“As an agency charged by law to ensure accurate, accountable and project management of the extractive resources in Nigeria, NEITI published a public policy brief in October 2016 entitled ‘The Urgency of a new Petroleum Sector Law’, this was in 2016. It was urgent then and it is actually more urgent now.
The paper estimated the cost of business uncertainty, lack of clarity and inadequate transparency mechanisms in eight years at more than $200billion. The paper showed how Nigeria is increasingly in competition with for oil and gas investment with many African countries, not to talk of other oil jurisdictions.
In addition, the paper also traced the beginning of the search for a composite and more appropriate law for the sector to the inauguration of the oil and gas reform committee on April 24, 2000. Almost 18 years ago. And to the presentation of the first petroleum industry bill to the national assembly in September 2008, almost 10 years ago.
“Now that we’re openly close to the end of this circuitous journey, it is important for us to focus on the next tasks in a way that we proactively and strategically ensure that the intention of the proposed laws are fully realised. And to ensure that we have not undertaken the long journey in vain. That is why NEITI as a critical stakeholder in this enterprise has conveyed this meeting.”