PIGB: CISLAC COMMENDS SENATE ACTION, URGES PROMPT COMPLETION OF PROCESS FOR RE-SUBMISSION AND PRESIDENTIAL ASSENT
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy (CISLAC) commends the Senate for prioritizing the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) as one of bills that enjoyed prompt action for review and passage for re-submission to the President for his assent before the end of the 8th Assembly.
We note that although this is coming after a full year has gone by, we however remain optimistic that it is better late than never.
CISLAC recalls that in response to intense campaign and advocacy by several groups in civil society, including CISLAC and her partners, the National Assembly passed the PIGB, which was one out of the four Bills drafted to provide clear legal framework to regulate the oil and gas sector to provide some certainty, transparency and accountability necessary for investments and maximization of benefit for Nigerians.
CISLAC also recalls that the President had raised some concerns about some of its provisions and withheld his assent in August 2018.
We note that intervening events including the election delayed the process for about eight months. CISLAC, and her partners advocating for the passage of the law, had indicated then that this was a set-back.
We are therefore encouraged by the action of the Senate which we believe has re-kindled the hope that this elusive and all important law could see the light of day in the life of this administration.
CISLAC notes that the reduction of the funds to be retained by the Petroleum Regulatory Commission from 10% to 5% and the resolution of the provisions related to the Petroleum Equalization Fund, has adequately addressed the concerns raised by the president. This should clear the way for the president to assent to the Bill when re-submitted.
CISLAC reminds the Federal Government that the passage of this law was a campaign promise made upon election in 2015 and had been repeated over the past four years in various forms. Indeed by the schedule of the much publicised 7 Big Wins, it ought to have been passed since December 2016.
It would be unnecessary to remind the Federal Government of the monumental financial loss amounting to trillions of Naira lost in the last 20 years, exacerbating uncertainty, subsequent loss of investors’ confidence and investments with all its attendant implication to the sector Nigeria depends on for over 80% of its foreign exchange and about 92% of government earnings.
CISLAC therefore calls on the House of Representatives to emulate the Senate in fast-tracking the process necessary for its completion to ensure timely re-submission to the President for assent. This will further assure Nigerians of the National Assembly’s commitment to ensure that the PIGB is passed into law during this legislative session to end the 18-year wait for reforms and clear policy and legislative direction for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
We call on the President, upon receipt of the reviewed Bill, to assent to it without further delay as a mark of integrity to fulfill a long standing promise to Nigerians, demonstrate of his commitment to sanitizing the oil and gas sector, which is notorious for corruption and silencing the voices that insinuate that his refusal to assent to the PIGB is linked to the aspiration of retaining discretionary powers for the office of the Minster of Petroleum Resources, which he currently occupies, to award licenses.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director, CISLAC