Industry experts have been stunned by President Muhammadu Buhari refusal to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill passed by the national assembly.
The PIGB is one of four parts of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which seeks to update and replace the outdated provisions with a more comprehensive and current petroleum industry law that aligns with global standards.
Also, the PIB seeks to empower institutions and not individuals, take away bad governance which leads to inefficiency, ineffectiveness, rent-seeking tendencies, inequity, secrecy and corruption in the country’s petroleum industry.
The Bill proposes to reform the governing institutional framework of the Nigerian petroleum industry by setting up an independent regulatory agency, unbundling the NNPC into two limited liability companies and setting specific policy roles for the Minister of Petroleum Resources, amongst others.
The president said the bill, if signed into law, would whittle down his power as minister of petroleum resources.
Lead director, Centre for Social Justice (CENSOJ), Eze Onyekpere, condemned the president’s decision to withhold assent to the Bill. He said it will worsen the already declining economy.
Also a financial consultant, Bayo Rotimi, said the decision would send the wrong signal to international investors.
The other parts of the draft law, which are still pending consideration by the National Assembly, include the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill (PIAB), Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB) and Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Bill (PHICB).
The PIAB focuses on establishing a transparent and efficient management of exploration and production operations, while the PIFB deals with fiscal terms, in term of tax regimes and contractual terms to help realize full value in line with global standards.
The PHICB takes care of the rights and opportunities for local benefits, in terms of restitution for environmental and social costs of resource extraction activities.