By Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Nigerian petroleum industry has hitherto been faced with vested interests that have consistently kicked against key reforms that would reposition the industry for greater benefits of the generality of Nigerians.
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) finds it worrisome that NNPC has failed to get an agreed PIB signed since the first one was presented in 2010 to the National Assembly. PIB remains a very crucial attempt at privatizing NNPC and getting value for money.
All attempts to get PIB passed have waned considerably. Instead, politicians, especially those seeking elective office, next year, have collectively shifted focus towards the 2015 elections. Failure to get PIB passed without doubt has hampered the growth industry thus making it impossible to make significant progress from where it was when commercial oil was first discovered at Oloibiri in present day Ogbia local government of Bayelsa state in June 1956.
Reports have revealed that unlike Venezuela, Kuwait, Gabon and Iran, Nigeria’s, has over the years relied on foreign countries, including nations that have no oil deposits for refined petroleum products and consequently, expending huge sums of money to subsidise local consumption of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
Asides other associated laws such as the Associated Gas Re-injection Act 2005, Motor Spirits (Returns) Act 2004 and Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Act 2004, the industry has majorly operated on the basis of the 1969 Nigeria Petroleum Act—which provides for the exploration of petroleum from territorial waters and the continental shelf of Nigeria, vested the authority and ownership of and all on-shore and off-shore revenue from petroleum resources in the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, through various engagements on PIB by CISLAC, it has been observed that efforts by the federal government to replace the obsolete Act with a progressive law like PIB have received stiff resistance from the international oil companies and other parties, primarily for selfish interests.
CISLAC believes it has become imperative to fast-track the passage of PIB before the end of seventh assembly to: strengthen the capacity of the industry to accommodate greater number of indigenous operators in the sector; reduce the level of exploitation, improved revenue from exploration and production activities; eliminate gas flares, promote proper fiscal, legal and regulatory governance of operations in the sector; and establish commercially oriented oil and gas entities.