Facts have emerged on why the passage of Petroleum Industrial Bill is delayed by the National Assembly. The delay was caused by divergent interests of the concerned stakeholders which must be considered before the bill is passed.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Senator Magnus Abe, while speaking with journalists explained that the Petroleum Industrial Bill is not being politicized, adding that delay in the passage of the bill is as a result of different sections of the bill that are of particular interest to different sectors of the economy.
Abe denied insinuation that the committee is not taking the bill serious explaining that the joint committee members have met with the consultant of the bill and as soon as it is possible the committee will deal with it.
He lamented that nobody is talking about the management of the industry which is part of the bill before the committee.
In his words, “I don’t think the PIB is being politicized as you know, PIB is a very voluminous bill. It is a bill that is dealing with structure of oil industry in this country as you know Nigeria is about oil and anything that has to do with it is of interest to everybody in this country. So that shows you the level of interest in PIB. So in that atmosphere there are different sections of the bill that is of particular interest to different sectors of the economy.
“There are some sections of the bill that concerns oil majors that is their own interest in the bill. There are sections of the bill that are of interest to oil bearing communities, there are some sections of the bill that are of interest to some of our brothers in the North and that has do with exploration of hydrocarbon. So every interest group is focusing on particular thing that is of interest to them in the bill, but they are hundreds of sections in the bill that nobody is concerned about.
“There are other sections of the bill that are equally important. The management of the industry, nobody is even interested in it, nobody is looking, nobody is contesting. So I think only challenge facing us politically is how to manage these different interests so that everyone goes away with something and Nigeria becomes better for all of us, that is what we need to do and that is what we are working on, so I don’t think anybody is opposed to PIB, I think people have interest in different sections of the bill that affects them, but I think most people in this country believe that it is an important bill so that the oil industry can move forward and lastly let me say that to me what is important about PIB is not really what it contains but it is whether we are passing it or we are not if we are passing PIB, we need to do that quickly so that the industry can plan and make progress.
“If we are passing PIB, we also need to do that quickly so that the industry can also plan and make progress because there is uncertainty in the industry that is the biggest challenge the country is facing, these oil majors have interest in other parts of the world where the rules are clear, so if they have money to invest and your own rule is not clear, they don’t know what will happen in Nigeria next year or year after, they will take their money to Angola and invest and if they have already invest in a project in Angola by the time you finish passing your own law to clarify your own issue, the money may no longer be there.
“For the purpose of this country, we need to decide if we are changing the law, what is the new law, if you are not changing the law let everybody knows that this law that remains so that people can plan and move forward that is what is critical.”