PIGB to be passed March 2017 — Nigerian Senate

*Nigerian Senate chamber.

Ike Amos

01 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja — Senate Committee Chairman on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Omotayo Alasoadura, has stated that the National Assembly would pass the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) before the end of March 2017.

Speaking at the 2017 Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja, Alasoadura stated that the other parts of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, would be passed before the end of 2017.
He also called on the Federal Government to take steps to eradicate fuel subsidy payment permanently, through incentives to fuel marketers.
He said the incentives could be in the form of tax holidays and the removal of charges paid by the importers at the Nigerian ports.

He said, “Some of these charges can be eradicated in this period of emergency and it will not kill Nigeria and would ensure that fuel subsidy payments do not return.”

Also speaking, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, emphasised the need for the country to discontinue petroleum products importation, stating that it is a shame that the country was still importing petroleum products.

Kachikwu, however, stated that the Federal Government is committed to its 2018, 2019 template to end fuel importation, to ensure the survival of the petroleum industry and also ensure that the country’s refineries do not become scraps when the Dangote refinery eventually come on stream.

He said, “Nigeria still remains the only country with the resources that we have, that had continued to import petroleum products. It is a shame on this country, it is a fraud on the system and we have got to end it.”

He bemoaned the fact that the country was not ready for a difficult economic terrain, as it failed to put a number of things in their right places.

“Everywhere you looked in the industry — whether it was the organisations that produce oil; whether it was the contractual basis that these things were founded on; whether it was the infrastructure that refused to work; whether it was the savings or investment culture that we had. Nigeria was simply not prepared for an environment of difficulty,” he maintained.

Kachikwu noted that there are still some governance issues that needed to be completed, while he added that by hopefully, by early April, the Federal Government would pay a substantial part of the arrears of the 2016 Joint Venture, JV, Cash Call and this would bring about a significant increase in Nigeria’s crude oil production.

He stated that the Nigerian petroleum industry needed an average of $10 billion of investment every year to bridge the industry infrastructural deficit put at about $35 billion.

According to him, since the Federal Government is no longer in a position to fund the infrastructure gap, it is left to stakeholders to bring in private investors, while the Federal Government would play its own role in addressing the deficit.
He said, “Government is not in a position to fund the infrastructure gap, so we are left with little alternative but to bring in private investors; work out terms that would enable us to begin to massively address the over $35 billion infrastructural gap that is essential for the oil industry to work effectively.

“Over the next four to five years, we need to find a way of bringing into this country an average of about $10 billion of investment every year in infrastructure. And that is essential if we are going to survive. And that infrastructure is going to go into pipelines, settle products all over the country; it is going to go into the refineries.”

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