By Umar Muhammad Puma
Facility for Oil Sector Transformation (FOSTER), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), for the interest of the country.
The stakeholders also urged the National Assembly to expedite actions in passing the petroleum industry reform bills.
Recall that President Muhammadu had in July this year decline assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) citing constitutional and legal reasons
However, In a communiqué issued at the end of capacity building and dialogue engagement in oil and gas sector reform held in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, the stakeholders said the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to decline assent to the Bill, which were first proposed 18 years ago, represents a missed opportunity and has signal to the rest of the world that the Nigeria is not ready to implements reforms in petroleum industry.
“We call on decision makers and stakeholders to place national interest above vested interest and work in concert to make the petroleum reform laws go into effect.
“This is not consistent with his avowed commitment to fighting corruption.
The reasons which President Buhari adduced to explain his decision to decline assent to the PIGB were not accompanied by any suggestion of a possible pathway to addressing those reservations.
The stakeholders urged the presidency to swiftly propose agreeable ideas to facilitate amicable resolution of the issues.
“The global energy market is becoming crowded with new and ambitious oil-producing countries. Nigeria’s competitiveness in the global energy market is being hampered by her obsolete petroleum laws which disincentivize investment. Capital investment in the global energy market follows the trail of business-friendly petroleum laws.
‘Nigeria will continue to be a pariah nation to prospective investors until we conform the Nigerian petroleum industry to best international practices. There is no alternative to effecting policy reforms in Oil and Gas sector. The petroleum industry reform bills are the only viable means to democratize the benefits of petroleum resources for the good of all Nigerians.
The group warns that Nigerian cannot continue to cope with the opportunity costs of delayed fruition of the reform initiative, and country is estimated to lose $15 billion to $20 billion in foreign investment annually due to the delayed reform.
“Nigeria is in danger of an existential crisis. Production volume is on the decline, oil revenues are dwindling and majority of the states of the federation are incapable of meeting their basic financial obligations, even with the supplement of bailouts handed out by the federal government. These are telltale signs of economic distress.