*Says Nigeria must maximise its natural resources now
By Musa Adamu
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, yesterday warned that the days of crude oil as driver of global economy are numbered, calling on all stakeholders to join hands to maximise the benefit of the natural resources before it becomes outdated.
As a way of making the best of the remaining days of relevance of petroleum in the global market, it sought the cooperation of the National Assembly for speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), forwarded to both the Senate and the House of Representatives, two weeks ago by President Muhamnadu Buhari.
Speaking during an interactive session with the leadership of the National Assembly on the intendment of the bill, the Minister of State for Petroleum , Timipre Sylva said having wasted 20 years in putting in place required laws for regulation of the oil industry, the country need to quickly pass the PIB to make the best of investments from the sector before 2040 , already forecasted for 50% loss of relevance of crude oil in global market.
“It is quite unfortunate that since year 2000 when attempts were made to come up with draft copy of PIB, to 2007, 2009 and 2012 when draft bills were submitted to different sessions of the National Assembly by the executive arm of government without passage, up till 2018 when the legislators came up with one ; that we are yet to put on ground required laws for effective regulation of the oil industry.
“Twenty years have been wasted in putting the laws in place for a sector that has 20 more years of full relevance going by forecasts already made.
“Forecasts in oil industry circles indicate that oil will play less and less role in global economy. Specifically, by year 2040 which is 20 years away, relevance of oil in global economy will reduce by 50%”, he said.
According to him , the PIB as drafted and passed to both Chambers of the National Assembly, if expeditiously considered and passed, will serve as the foundation of investments.
“The days of oil are numbered . Deposits of Coal did not run out before the world moved away from it”, he warned.
He added that one of the Central aims of the bill , is to make Nigeria an attractive investment destination.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the President of the Senate , Ahmad Lawan , said though the PIB seemed to be jinxed since 2007 and 2019, but the fresh effort will surely see the light of the day.
“We want to break the jinx and we shall break it with the latest bill forwarded to us by the executive arm of government “ he said.
He however added that it is difficult to put a time frame on when the the jinx would be broken through the passage of the bill because details of its contents must be understood and thoroughness applied in its consideration.
Speaking in the same vein, the Speaker of the House of Representatives , Hon Femi Gbajabiamila , said though the bill will be considered and passed speedily but thoroughness will not be sacrificed .
“Oil represents the lifewire of our Nation’s economy , making the PIB the most important piece of legislation that will come out of the 9th National Assembly in months or years to come.
“We will pass the bill speedily but not sacrifice thoroughness at the alter of Speed.
“We have assembled a crack team of legislators who are versed in the workings of the industry” , he said.