07 January 2014, Lagos: The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to expedite action in diversifying the nation’s economy so that the country could have other major sources of revenue outside crude oil.
The Congress, in a statement by its President Abdulwaheed Omar, said it has become imperative for government to develop alternative sources of revenue especially in the face of shrinking oil revenue.
It urged government to emulate the government of the United States of America which had developed alternative sources in Shale Gas noting that the investment in shale gas has already began to yield positive result for the US economy.
“Looking into the future, there is the need to recognize that the international market for Nigerian crude is likely to shrink as alternative sources come on stream. Investment in shale gas development in the US and other countries are beginning to yield results. Congress will continue to articulate for greater transparency in the management of the oil sector and diversification of the economy,” the NLC stated.
The Congress also called for urgent passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the end of the year. It said it was unacceptable that the petroleum sector is still regulated by the old Petroleum Act of 1969.
The PIB, it noted, with all the proposed inputs by all stakeholders, will undoubtedly promote transparency and accountability in the oil and gas industry.
In a related development, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN attributed the rise in the divestment from the country’s petroleum industry by International Oil Companies (IOCs), to unabated upsurge in crude oil theft.
The oil workers union called on the government to develop enough political will to tackle the menace in the interest of the overall economy.
PENGASSAN General Secretary, Bayo Olowoshile, who stated this called for the immediate passage of the PIB adding that the delay is eroding investors’ confidence in the sector.
He lamented that after channeling stakeholders’ energies to the PIB to replace the obsolete 1969 Petroleum Act, government is contradicting itself with privatisation/sales of strategic national assets.
“The delay in the passage of PIB is causing concerns among investors. The Investors are finding it hard to take decisions as per their investment portfolios which are negatively affecting the Oil and Gas Industry in particular and Nigeria as a whole. We suggest that the National Assembly should engage a neutral consultant to critically look at the fiscal regime proposal in order to come to a speedy passage of the Bill,” he added.