Legislators should pass PIB into law to tackle issues in oil, gas industry – Okwuosa
The Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB was designed to encourage more investment as well as achieve improved regulation, transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. Unfortunately, it has not yet been passed into law. In this interview with Sweetcrude, Chief Emeka Okwuosa, Managing Partner, The Chancery Associates, disclosed that it has among other things cost the nation $235 billion. In your opinion, how has the delay in the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB affected Nigeria? We should commend the current administration for having adopted the approach of unbundling the PIB into the following bite-sized bills to enable timely engagement, review and facilitate expeditious passage by the National Assembly. It is worth noting that the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) is the first part of a larger piece of legislation known as Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to pass through the National Assembly and is awaiting the assent of the president of Nigeria to become a law. It is imperative to note that the PIGB is less robust and has less scope than the original PIB as it does not delve into areas like fiscal framework, gas framework, host community issues, etc. The Petroleum Industry Bill debated over a decade was created into sections to help pass it into law more easily. Both houses have approved the PIGB, which is a component part of PIB and all it requires now is the signature of the president for it to become Law. The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill creates four new entities whose power will include the power to conduct Bid Rounds, Award Exploration Licenses and make recommendations to the petroleum Minister on Upstream Licenses. Furthermore, the PIGB deals mainly with governance and institutional framework for the petroleum industry, and seeks to establish bright lines between policy making, regulation and commercial activities. Why have you been canvassing for the passage of PIB? It is true that I have been a strong advocate for the passage of the PIB for a reason. The PIB should be passed into law because it provides solutions to several issues militating against the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. I think Nigeria is prepared to handle all the emerging issues that may come with it, this is akin to the fact that the new PIB will be a single, all embracing, and comprehensive document that will change the whole gamut of the petroleum industry in Nigeria. I would advise the Federal Government to pass the PIB expeditiously. What has been and will continue to be the role of your organisation? We do not only support the passage of PIB. Our clients are mainly multinational and international oil Companies. Our mandate is to provide solutions to the ever-growing and expanding myriads of problems our clients face in the oil industry. We possess expertise in all areas of energy sector and our understanding of this constantly evolving energy sector and the language/dynamics of the oil industry places us in a better position to provide our clients with exceptional and comprehensive solutions diligently and expediently.