Contrary to expectations, the passage of long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, may be stretched to before 2015. Ironically, earlier promises made by various arms of government including the executive and the legislature were that the bill will be passed before year end.
The hint was dropped in Lagos at the 7th Oil Trading Logistic Expo, thereby heightening anxieties of protracted investment freeze in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
The Chairman House Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Hon. Dakoko Peterside, who gave the hint, said: “We are working on the bill and we are conscious of the fact that it is very critical to the economy of Nigeria, and so we are not taking it lightly. I want to reassure you again that we are taking the PIB very seriously and I’m very optimistic that the bill would be passed before 2015.”
Explaining why the bill will not receive expedite actions at the National Assembly as anticipated, the Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Senator Magnus Abe, said the PIB in its current form is a very delicate structure that needs to be handled with care.
Abe listed a number of the challenges impeding speedy passage of the bill, saying: “There are issues with productivity with the Nigeria worker, the PIB will not solve it; there are issues of inefficiency in the Nigeria economy, the PIB will not solve it. There are lots of issues that are there with us that we can begin to solve before the PIB is passed. The PIB alone will not automatically solve all these problems.
“There are even challenges as to how long it will actually take us to actualise the true meaning of the PIB because even after we have pass these laws there are still pieces of paper that have to be implemented.
“Agencies have to transform and change their way of doing things. The whole PIB package is a very delicate structure that needs to be handled with some care. But the emphasis at this time is not on all of that because the basic thing which is the passage of the PIB has not been done.
“So let us pass it first before we will begin to talk about all these other issues which would come after the passage of the bill.”
Abe however argued that the major issue about the PIB is not about some controversies surrounding it, but the fact that “There are certain sections of the law that some people have difficulty with and that is normal in any law.