Prof. Wumi Iledare of the University of Port Harcourt, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) passed by the National Assembly.
Iledare, who is also the Director of Emerald Energy Institute of the university, made the call during a sensitisation discourse on Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Reforms in Port Harcourt on Friday.
The theme of the discourse, organised by the United Kingdom’s Facility for Oil Sector Transformation (FOSTER), was `Understanding the Elements of the Governance (PIG) and Host and Impacted Community (PHIC) Bills’.
Iledare said that the country had lost investments worth billions of dollars due to the delay in the passage of the PIGB since it was first debated in 2000.
“We should not allow sentiments to stop passage of the PIGB. Nigeria must timely exploit its resources to realise maximum value for rapid development of its economy.
“In this bill, roles and accountability are better clarified; governance and transparency strengthened and inefficiency, maladministration, corruption and secrecy tackled.”
The don said that said the PIGB, when passed, would end political interference in the sector and optimise value chain in the upstream, midstream and downstream of the petroleum industry.
“The PIGB separates the roles of the policy maker from the regulator and from the commercial institutions. It also encourages a single regulator of the oil and gas industry.
“This bill will lead to efficiency in the governance of the oil and gas industry, and so, further delay of the bill will be devastating to the economic fortunes of the country.”
Iledare said the meeting was organised to review the PIGB and also discuss principles and structure of the PHICB among stakeholders in the petroleum host and impacted communities.
He expressed optimism that passage of the bill would tackle corruption and end rot in the petroleum industry.
Also speaking, the Resident Consultant, Senate Upstream Petroleum Committee, Dr Francis Adigwe, said the PHIC bill would fast track infrastructural development in the country.
According to Adigwe, the PHIC bill promotes full participation of host communities in the development process of oil and gas activities on their land.
“Also, a petroleum host community development trust (fund) is captured in the bill. This will ensure peace and security in oil and gas operations.
“The proposed bill will bring inclusiveness, shared prosperity, direct disbursement, harmonious relationship, peaceful environment with greater involvement and engagement of the host community.
Adigwe said the bill had passed its second reading in the National Assembly and assured commitment to passage of the bill.
The legislature broke the old PIB into four concomitant parts, namely, Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and Petroleum Host and Impacted Community Bill.