Several reactions have trailed the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by the National Assembly, NASS, into law after 20 years of its agitation.
This came as financial experts commended the NASS for passing the PIB, stressing that it is a blessing for the country.
The experts also seek the Presidential assent to the bill to further develop the nation’s petroleum sector.
iBrandTV reported that the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the bill into law on Thursday.
About the PIB
The Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, 2020 is a law in the making, which seeks to introduce far-reaching reforms in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. It was first presented to the National Assembly in 2008.
The bill aims at establishing good governance, best practices, and ease of doing business in the industry by clarifying roles and responsibilities of officials and institutions, enable frontier exploration, mandate improved environmental compliance, and transform NNPC into a commercially viable enterprise.
The PIB is necessary because almost all petroleum-related laws, including the Petroleum Act of 1969, had been belated for decades. In other words, they are no more relevant and competitive globally. With the advancement in technology, the volatility of oil prices, climatic changes influencing the driving forces of the global economy, it has become imperative to review extant laws to bring them in alignment with current realities.
Also, a former Director, Budgeting Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Titus Okunrounmu, described the feat as a welcome development that would unlock investment opportunities in the sector.
Okunrounmu added that the passing of the PIB was a sign of progress for the country.
He explained that it would enhance the involvement of the private sector in the petroleum sector and reduce the monopoly of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Okunrounmu noted that the NNPC had been the only one extracting and exporting the nation’s crude oil as well as selling the bye-products to the country.
“By bringing the private sector into the industry, it would break the monopoly of the NNPC and address inefficiency in the petroleum sector.
“In addition, it will create employment opportunities for millions of teeming youths in the country,” he said.
Okunrounmu, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari on quick assent to the bill so as to kickstart development in the sector.
PIB was long overdue – ANAN
Also speaking, Dr Samuel Nzekwe, former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), said passing the PIB was long overdue.
Nzekwe described the decision as a right step in the right direction as it would regulate effectively the petroleum industry.
He added that it would create a strong value chain and enhance income of the country through massive private participation.
“It will also address and resolve conflicts between the Federal Government, oil companies and the host communities to the minimum level,” he said.