Lagos — A director with an energy services and consulting agency, Aspen Energy Nigeria, Israel Aye has called on the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, pass into law the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, this year, or early next year at most.
The call was made at a webinar workshop for journalists on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, organised by Foster on Tuesday.
According to him, struggling to pass the Bill for 20 years now slows down investments and puts Nigeria at risk of development.
He added that the country had lost billions as a result of the delay, describing it as a “shame”.
“The opportunity cost of the delay in terms of industry, infrastructure and economic added valued is too high to joke with,” he said.
President Mohammadu Buhari in February had hinted that he was working with the Legislature to redraft the Bill which is divided into the fiscal terms and that of oil-producing communities.
As a follow-up, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva around mid-February, said the revised edition of the Bill would be presented to the National Assembly same month.
In the same vein, NNPC’s GMD, Mele Keyari also said Nigeria, by June, would have a clear fiscal landscape on the Bill.
According to Mr. Aye, delaying the Bill any further would be suicidal for the economy.
The PIGB when finally passed into law will overhaul Nigeria’s petroleum sector with regards to taxation and other affairs.
Senate president, Sen. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan had also said the bill will be passed by the end of 2020.
Lawan expressed confidence on Twitter, that the bill would be passed by both chambers and sent to the president before the end of the year.
“We believe that this time around, the ninth National Assembly will break the jinx and should be able to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill,” he said.
In a twist, Kyari had earlier in June, said Nigeria does not need PIGB to deregulate the downstream sector.
In an interview with Premium Times, Kyari said deregulation is “purely a policy issue”.
His response came after clamour from the downstream oil and gas operators to pass the Bill if it was serious about deregulation.
However, Mr. Aye said “Struggling to pay a legislative Bill for 20 years is a shame to us all because countries like the U.K passes a Bill into law in two years. If a Bill doesn’t become law in two years then, it is trashed.”