Business Hilights
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Shifting passage of PIB to 2018 is delaying investments in the sector—Analyst

The recent argument by the Senate to shift passage of the remaining parts of the segmented Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to sometime next year has been viewed by industry experts as another blow to the planned expansion speed of the sector.

In a telephone interview, leading industry analysts, Dr. Obed Ndubizu, said “Delaying the passage of a law that had celebrated more than four years at the National Assembly again this year amounts to disservice to the industry”.

“Many oil and gas companies and investors are working with the premise that the bill will be passed this year so that real revolution anchored on its provisions can kick off next year.

“Now it has been delayed again, it only goes to show the height of policy inconsistency and weak understanding of the happenstances of the oil and gas industry by some of the lawmakers.

Dr. Ndubizu noted that “The first part of the bill so passed, though it’s yet to be assented, is all about mere issues of industry governance and not the real issues needed to deepen investments in the sector”.

“Industry players and several IOCs are patiently waiting for the key bills that will actually spur investments in the sector.

Business Hilights gathered on Thursday that the Senate shifted the time for the passage of the PIB from this year to the first quarter of 2018 on the premise that the National Assembly has a lot of work to do in order to ensure the early passage of next year’s Appropriation Bill.

Some of the teething jobs they claimed include the newly presented 2018 Appropriation Bill.

In the views of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum, Upstream, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura, “Although the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had earlier in the year stated that he wanted the PIB to be passed in 2017, the present circumstance on ground had shown that the passage of the bill would not happen until 2018”.

“The PIB will be passed in the first quarter of next year and this is because of the budget that was presented to the National Assembly by the President on Tuesday. He (Buhari) asked us to do all we can in order to pass the budget before the end of this year,” Alasoadura averrd.

According to him, “There is much work to be done by the National Assembly on the budget and as a result of this, we won’t or may not have all the time to go through all that is needed for the passage of the PIB before the end of this year.

“The Senate president wants it to be done before the end of this year, but I have to be practical. For with the budget in place, I think we need to concentrate on its passage so that its implementation can also take effect in good time.”

While admitting that the passage of the PIB had been delayed for so long and corroborated the argument of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote, that the bill needed to be passed, whether in good or bad shape, he noted that national budget is currently taking priority because all our economic activities are dependent on early passage of the budget.