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Stakeholders suspect presidency on delays in assenting PIGB, seek execution timeline

Leading stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas industry have started nursing mixed feelings on why the President, Muhammadu Buhari who doubles as the substantive minister of Petroleum cannot find it worthy to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) in to law.

Observers say the delay in assenting to the bill passed months ago by the National Assembly has created feelings of either poor knowledge of key challenges of the industry or the presidency is comfortable with the unpredictable state of affairs in the industry.

The experts who spoke in Lagos at the Annual Conference organised by the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria, expressed the fear that long delay in signing the Bill into has continued to provide escape routes for International Oil Companies in ripping off the economy on one hand, and frustrating prospective investors in the sector.

Besides, the concerned stakeholders extended their demands from the presidency to sign the Bill and further provide a timetable for the implementation of the provisions of the Bill whenever it becomes law.

Majority of the industry experts are nursing the fear that unless the PIGB is insulated with a timeline stating its implementation deadline, its passage into law in an election year (2018) might suffer unnecessary delays if the incumbent Federal Government fails to get re-elected in 2019 to execute the law.

Observers both within and outside the country have always been of the view that Nigerians had not benefited much from the oil and gas industry due to lack of accountability and transparency. But they are upbeat that with the PIGB which separates the regulatory and commercial functions from the existing Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, some of the running encumbrances’ will fade away.

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