There are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari has started consulting experts and stakeholders on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB before signing it into law. Investigations by Vanguard showed that the consultation, involving experts, community leaders and oil companies aims at ensuring that the PIGB is error-free and acceptable to all stakeholders.
But it could not be confirmed when the PIGB, expected to bring about restructuring, efficient management, transparency and accountability in the oil and gas industry, would eventually be signed into law.
Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters said in a telephone interview over the weekend that he cannot comment on the subject.
He said: ”The President is committed but I cannot confirm when the PIGB will be signed.”
The PIGB, one aspect of the nation’s Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB has already been passed into law by the National Assembly, thus awaiting President Buhari’s assent.
Others – Petroleum Host Community Bill, PHCB, Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, PIAB and Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill, PIFB – have not yet been passed into law.
Meanwhile, stakeholders who gathered at Emerald Energy Institute, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, last week to brainstorm on Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Reforms stressed the need to hasten work on all the bills.
In his presentation – PIGB Outlook and Impact – the Director of the Institute, Prof. Wumi Iledare indicated that the PIGB is important as it aims at creating efficient and effective governing institutions with clear and separate roles for the petroleum industry.
He said that the bill further aimed at ”establishing a framework for the creation of commercially oriented and profit-driven petroleum entities that ensures value addition and internationalisation of the petroleum industry.”
Iledare said that the bill will bring about a clear separation of roles, distinct accountabilities, simple and clear lines of sight, focus, transparency and good governance, full coverage of the value chain, minimal interference and eliminate cross subsidisation risks.
He added that: ”the PIGB has set out the foundations that will ensure optimum management (perform and drive growth) of Nigeria’s petroleum resources.
In his presentation, Petroleum Host Community Bill Outlook and Impact, Dr. Francis Adigwe who is a consultant to the Senate Petroleum Upstream Committee, stated that PHCB was also desirable because of its importance to all stakeholders.
Dr. Adigwe said that: ”they are mostly impacted by the activities and operations of oil and gas exploitation. They do not feel sufficient economic development arising from the proceeds of oil and gas production.
”Derivation and NDDC Act resources conferred on the state governments hardly trickle down to them. They are excluded from direct ownership by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He said the demand included the amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to confer ownership of petroleum resources on host communities and the conferment of all or part of concession rentals and royalties.
Dr. Adigwe noted that the demands also included direct participation in equity ownership of petroleum operations, Carried equity participation and share of profits; become beneficiaries of dividend payments arising from oil and gas proceeds; conferment of resources from Derivation and NNDC Act on host communities and 10 per cent (or more) of net profit of oil and gas companies.
Adigwe stated that the Niger-Delta Development Commission Act made provision for 15 per cent of the total monthly statutory allocations due to member-states of the Commission from the Federation Account, 3 per cent of the total annual budget of petroleum companies and 50 per cent of monies due to member- states of the Commission from the Ecological Fund.
He noted that these and other efforts were insufficient, especially as they do not make direct impact on host communities, stressing that: ”The development objectives of the initiatives have not delivered as intended – Derivation, NDDC, Amnesty, etc.
”Government initiatives marred by poor governance and corruption, exclusion of communities from the development process, host communities do not see themselves as joint-owners and custodians of petroleum assets.
”Failure of government initiatives result in huge infrastructure and development gaps – Poverty level is not reduced. Feeling of inequality, unfairness and louder agitation. Increasing disruption of petroleum operations, fragile peace and heightened insecurity.”
Uses: The fund would be used to execute projects for the benefit of the host communities, undertake infrastructural development of the host communities, facilitate employment opportunities and advance and propagate education and learning.
The fund would also be used to provide medical facilities and personnel, undertake training, skills acquisition and other empowerment programmes, support local initiatives on environmental protection, support local initiatives on enhancement of security, invest certain part of available funds for future generations, secure funds and loans for specific projects and any other project for benefit of host communities.
Hope: Professor Eme Ekekwe, Department of Political Science, University of Port Harcourt said that: ”I am pleased with progress being made by the National Assembly and other stakeholders to pass the bills.”
However, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, has assured that the PIB, will be fully passed by the fourth quarter of this year.
In a statement at the just concluded Offshore Technology Conference, OTC, 2018 in Houston, Texas, Baru said the remaining three parts of the bill will be passed into law before the year runs out.
He said that: “We have assurances from our National Assembly that by early Q3, 2018 there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Its passage is important to help unlock billions of dollars of investments, which have been held up due to the uncertainty of its passage.”