PIB held up by Niger Delta crises – Senator

PIB-600x330Oscarline Onwuemenyi 15 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja  Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, says the long-awaited bill to reform the country’s petroleum industry is effectively on hold until tensions ease in the restive Niger Delta region, the country’s oil hub.
Alasoadura pointed out in an interview that the delay is the latest setback caused by activities of militants in the Delta region, whose actions have prevented more than 700,000 barrels per day, bpd, in oil production due to anger at the way the nation’s energy resources are split.
The Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, covering everything from an overhaul of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to taxes on upstream projects, has been stuck in parliament for almost decade, but President Muhammadu Buhari has made passing it a key part of his reform of a sector hit by corruption at NNPC.
“We have to hold it because of all the problems in the Niger Delta,” Alasoadura said of the bill. “As soon as things improve, then it will come to the front of the line again.”
Alasoadura said there were no plans to change the bill, which had a first reading in the senate, but the unrest in the Delta had forced lawmakers to wait.
“There is a deliberate effort to keep things waiting so we don’t accentuate what is happening there,” he said, adding he hoped the bill could move forward again within three to five months.
Despite a ceasefire reached late last month with one of the most active militant groups, the Niger Delta Avengers, others have continued to attack oil and gas infrastructure in the region.

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