23 October 2013, Abuja – A civil society group, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, Centre LSD, on Tuesday warned Nigerians not to relegate the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, to the background for the current clamour for a national conference.
The Executive Director of the centre, Otive Igbuzor, who was speaking in Abuja at a media roundtable on “PIB and Oil Theft” noted that though national conference, demand for the review of revenue allocation formula, party politics and preparation for 2015 elections were desirable, pursuing these at the expense of the immediate passage of the PIB would be too costly for the country’s economy and national development.
Mr. Igbuzor said that with reports that Nigeria was losing an average of 400,000 barrels of oil every day and revenue loss of over $11 billion annually through crude oil theft, Nigerians must demand that the National Assembly make the extra effort to see the draft PIB passed into law as soon as possible to help address the challenge of crude oil theft and its negative impact on the country’s economy.
“The PIB seeks to harmonise and consolidate about 16 existing laws governing the oil and gas industry. We must the attention of Nigerians on the need to get back to work on the PIB and pass it. The more we delay, the more we create uncertainty and loss of revenue to the country,” Mr. Igbuzor said.
He drew attention to the dangerous trend of increasing opulence in the face of abject poverty, which has pushed the poor to embrace “illegal businesses”, like crude oil theft, to survive; pointing out that though global economic wealth has increased sevenfold and average incomes tripled, poverty has increased to record high levels.
In his presentation on the theme, Oladayo Olaide of Nigeria Stability & Reconciliation Programme, NSRP, acknowledged the critical importance of the PIB to the country’s economy, pointing out that the continued delay in passing the draft bill into law was creating enormous uncertainty in the system, which was frustrating investors’ interest in the country and causing the country huge losses in revenue.
– Premium Times