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How IOC’s lobbying is grounding lawmakers’ national interest in passage of PIB—-BH Report

New report released by Business Hilights Research Team (BHRT) has fingered the unseen forces apparently operating from the camp of International Oil Companies (IoCs) as the stumbling block in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) at the National Assembly.

The report also recognised the fact that lobbying remains a legal means used by either lovers or haters of a legislative process either to collapse it or promote it for selfish or corporate interests.

It also disclosed that “Many of the Nigerian lawmakers especially those from the South-West, South-East and South-South have been trying their best in pushing for the passage of the bill but there are indications that the lobbying cabal fronting for IoCs are working on the mental reasoning of lawmakers from other regions, braining them with ‘intimidating muscles’ on what they will lose should PIB sail through”.

Since the first introduction of the PIB several years ago, no section of the IOCs has ever come out to say that the new law will be good for Nigeria, rather they have all been mute, the report disclosed.

Analysts say the observed silence of IoCs on every effort to push for early delivery of the law calls for concern in finding out what actually the IoCs want for Nigeria.

The report said “one of the major factors highly disliked by IoCs in the PIB was the provision that all oil companies should relocate their head offices to oil producing communities. If this provision is not against the wish of the IoCs, they would have complied with the Acting President’s directive during his tour of Niger Delta when he told them to move to Niger Delta.”

Other grey areas for IoCs include new tax and penalty structures and certain sharing formula in some issues of allocations”.

Even though, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had assured stakeholders that the bill would soon be passed into law, the PIB has not scaled past the second reading for more than a decade.

Business Hilights report queried that “if Ghana, which took clue from Nigeria’s PIB to develop its petroleum law could pass the bill in record time, Nigeria should have no reason to delay the signing of the bill till date”.

“Ghana’s lawmakers passed the country’s PIB into law last year, to replace its Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 1984 and Nigerian’s 1967 Petroleum Act where certain fines are still in kobo, kobo is still in force at the advantage of IoCs and detriment of Nigeria and oil communities.