Energy & Environment

President’s decline of assent to PIGB a setback, say journalists

Media stakeholders and practioners from across Nigeria, have called on lawmakers and President Mohammed Buhari in particular to come to agreement to hasten passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) into law. It is hoped that when passed into law, the legislation, which is one of the oldest bills in the National Assembly,will enhance much needed reforms and attract foreign and local investors to participate in the Nigerian petroleum industry. It is also hoped that stop Nigeria from towing the path of Venezuela.

In a communique issued by the media personalities recently at the Oakland Hotel in Enugu,  the forum regretted the latest rejection of the PIGB by President Buhari, which had already been passed by the National Assembly. The forum observed that the president’s refusal to sign the bill is a major policy setback to unleash the potentials of the Nigeria petroleum industry.
It will be recalled that President Buhari is the fourth president over the last 16 years to refuse accent to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which has been restructured and harmonised into four component sections.
The forum also called on the mass media to assume a bellweather role to serve as game changers by playing a more robust advocacy role to have the bill finally passed.
At the end of the workshop, which was hosted by Facility for Oil Sector Transformation (FOSTER), in collaboration with the Republic Media, the following was adopted:

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF MEDIA STAKEHOLDERS ROUNDTABLE ON PETROLEUM INDUSTRY BILLS HELD ON 11TH OCTOBER, 2018 AT OAKLAND HOTEL ENUGU
A cross section of journalists from the print, broadcast and online media organizations across Nigeria held a roundtable in Enugu to discuss the state of the Petroleum Industry Bills. The event featured presentations by industry analysts and discussion by participants. At the end of the deliberations, the participants unanimously adopted the following resolutions:
1. President Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) represents a very disheartening setback on efforts to actualize policy reforms in the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector, a quest which was initiated about two decades ago;

2. The decline of assent to the PIGB was a missed opportunity to advance a token of the commitment of the Nigerian government to modernizing the architecture of Nigerian petroleum laws in order to rid it of opaqueness and inefficiency and introduce it to the regime of international best practices, transparency and accountability;

3. The decline of assent to the PIGB signals to prospective investors and industry players absence of the political will on the part of the Nigerian government to change the fundamentals of the landscape of the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector. This will inevitably escalate the trend of loss in withheld and diverted capital investments which is plaguing the sector;

4. The huge potential of the Petroleum Industry Bills to create wealth, generate jobs and increase Nigeria’s competitiveness in the global energy market ought to take precedence over all political considerations and the security and comfort of the vested interests;

5. The descent of Venezuela to a dystopian basket case is a cautionary warning that the failure to reform will ultimately culminate in devastating consequences;

6. The Nigerian petroleum industry is the national cash cow and the most critical sector of the economy. The industry’s capacity to fulfill its traditional role in the Nigerian economy is increasingly being undermined by obsolete petroleum legislation. The recurrent deferment of necessary policy reforms in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry is setting Nigeria up for an existential economic crisis on the scale of the Venezuela nightmare;

7. Nigerian journalists have a responsibility to deploy their skills and platforms towards pressurizing all key actors to take the urgent actions needed to reposition the Petroleum Industry in order to benefit all stakeholders and guarantee sustainable business environment;

8. Nigerian journalists can be the game changers in this seemingly intractable reform process. They are well positioned to make exert influence on the general public and the critical mass of key actors.

9. It is possible to mount an inclusive advocacy campaign that will rally all Nigerians around the win-win positives of the Petroleum Industry Bills;

10. Going forward, we will accord the Petroleum Industry Bills the priority attention they deserve in our reportage.

Signed:

The Republic Media Limited

Enugu

11th October, 2018

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