News Column

Uncertainty Over PIB Stalls Investments in Petroleum Sector, Says Egbogah

July 21, 2014

Obas Esiedesa

Former Presidential Adviser of Petroleum Matters, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah on Monday said there has been no major investment in Nigeria's petroleum sector in the past five years due to uncertainties over the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly.

Egbogah who spoke at the Abuja Petroleum Roundtable (ARB) described the PIB as both a challenge and opportunity.

He however noted that while the lawmakers are able to appreciate the challenge posed by the bill, they are yet to embrace the opportunity it presents.

According to him, the PIB seeks to "holistically restructure and reform Nigeria's oil and gas industry with a key objective to establish a progressive fiscal framework which will encourage investments in the petroleum industry while at the same time maximizing revenues for the government.

"It is aimed at energizing investments in our industry. In the upstream, the funding issues faced by the state owned Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) needed to be addressed as well.

"The government also wishes to reverse the fiscal terms across the industry especially during a time of rising oil prices in order to increase its tax revenues. At the downstream sector, there is total disarray with a failed refining industry which is heavily subsidized".

Egbogah who admitted that the chances of the bill being passed by the National Assembly are diminishing by the day, however expressed the confidence the current legislature would live up to its responsibilities.

He explained that any keen observer of the industry would have noted that "industry rounds and investments have been put on hold for about five to six years now pending the passage of the new bill to regulate the oil and gas industry.

"The passage of the bill into law will serve as a breath of fresh investment air into the industry for the revival of our national economy and will indeed serve as possible key to unlocking major opportunities in the Nigeria's energy sector".

In his presentations, the Executive Secretary Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, Ernest Nwapa assured that though the PIB is taking a long time to pass into law, it would be passed eventually like the local content law.

He explained that the delay may turn out to be an advantage as it affords the country enough time to prepare for the implementation the bill and with it improve how the petroleum sector is governed.

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Source: AllAfrica

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