The Campaign for Growth in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry (CGNOGI) has called on the National Assembly to speedily debate and pass the 2012 Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law.
The CGNOGI said a speedy passage of the bill will help place the Nigerian oil and gas industry on a modern pedestal and replace the existing laws which do not adequately reflect global realities. Besides this, the bill will open a new chapter of development in the nation’s oil and gas industry as it aspires to increase indigenous participation, address underdevelopment of oil bearing communities and safeguard the environment against pollution.
According to Mallam Abubakar Kalto, Executive Secretary of CGNOGI, the National Assembly is on the edge of writing its name in gold by passing the most significant legislation governing the oil and gas industry. ‘The National Assembly is on the threshold of making history by approving this all-important legislation which has taken several years to draft. We cannot allow this opportunity slip through the fingers again’.
The CNOGI boss called on members of the national assembly to set aside their differences irrespective of political affiliation and coalesce effort to pass the bill. ‘We wish to call on our legislators to rally together no matter their political party or ideological persuasion to accelerate deliberation on this bill. They must not allow differences with the Executive arm of government come into play in making the decision about this bill because the interest of Nigeria supersedes any other consideration’, he stated.
Kalto said that contrary to claim by some people that western countries are opposed to the bill, the 2012 PIB enjoys support of the international community. He cited recent comment by Mr. Vincent Cable, Business Secretary of the United Kingdom pledging support for the bill as proof. ‘The international community has pledged support for the PIB. Mr. Vincent Cable’s call for the passage of the PIB which places the interest of Nigerians above any other consideration lends credence to the comprehensiveness of this bill and highlights the need for the National Assembly to treat it with urgency’, he said.
The CNGOGI boss said the 2012 PIB reflects the wishes of Nigerians for a reformed and vibrant oil and gas industry which would guarantee economic growth and prosperity. He added that the bill would place Nigeria on path to achieving the target of 40 billion barrels of reserve within the next decade.
Speaking on the impact of the delay in passing the bill, Mallam Kalto lamented that it has created investment uncertainties as potential investors have kept a safe distance while existing players have withheld plans of increasing their investment until the outcome of the bill is determined.
On the concerns of the international oil companies regarding fiscal terms as contained in the PIB, Kalto allayed their fears and said the IOCs should rather embrace the bill as it contains favourable fiscal terms which should serve as incentive for increasing their investment in the industry.
‘We note with sadness the opposition of the IOCs to the current draft of the 2012 PIB which President Goodluck Jonathan sent to the National Assembly. While their concerns are understandable, the fiscal provisions contained in the 2012 PIB remain favourable to them more than other existing legislation governing the oil and gas industry’, he stated.
Kalto called on the media to remain unfazed in their support for passage of the bill. According to him ‘the Nigerian media has done a lot towards shaping public discourse around the bill. We call on them not to rest on their oars as there’s still more work to be done. The media should do more to ensure that our legislators understand the need to speed up action on this bill’.
He charged Nigerians to put pressure on their representatives at the National Assembly to expedite action on the bill. ‘We call on Nigerians to keep drumming on the doors of their representatives at the National Assembly. Nigerians should ceaselessly petition them until they do the right thing. We cannot mortgage the interest of this country on the altar of ethnic and parochial considerations’, he said.