Stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas sector have charged the Executive and Legislative arms of government to finalise the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, (PIGB) and other industry-related bills to grow the hydrocarbon resources industry.

The stakeholders’ call came as the Bill, which had been passed and harmonised by both the Senate and House of Representatives, remained still not assented to by the President.

The National President of Petroleum Club Nigeria, Dr. Goodwill Ihetu, who made a strong case for the enactment of the bills at the 2018 National Association of Energy Correspondents, (NAEC) in Lagos, told participants that despite the passage of the PIGB by the two chambers of the National Assembly, the harmonized version was yet to be transmitted to the President.

National President of Petroleum Club Nigeria, Dr. Goodwill Ihetu
National President of Petroleum Club Nigeria, Dr. Goodwill Ihetu

Ihetu, who was the panel chairman at the plenary session of the forum, recalled that at the Senate public hearing on the Bill on June 3rd this year organised to consider the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill, the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill and the Petroleum Industry Host and Impacted Communities Bill, the lawmakers confirmed that PIGB was still with them.

According to him, the Senate President confirmed at the forum that lawyers were still fine-tuning the legal aspects of the Bill before it would be transmitted to the President.

The industry expert expressed concern about the prolonged delay in enacting the PIGB given its implications for the nation’s revenue generation and investments.

Ihetu therefore canvassed the need for stakeholders to keep mounting pressure on thw two arms of government to speed up the process of legislation facilitate commencement of the PIGB and other bills’ implementation.

In addition, the Petroleum group leader identified the retention of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) in the PIGB as another issue that remained some concerns as the Fund should have been abolished in the new bill.

Commenting, the Deputy Managing Director, Deep Water District of Total Exploration and Production, Mallam Ahmadu-Kida Musa, explained that there was the need for extensive consultations among industry experts, the National Assembly, operators and government to ensure that the objectives of the PIGB and other bills are not undermined.

He said: “As it is usually the case with new legislation, especially one as fundamental as this, there are bound to be some initial concerns. But we believe that these concerns can be easily addressed through dialogue and legislative public hearings.

“Our thoughts and concerns on the PIGB and rest of the proposed bills have been articulated by our umbrella organisation, the Oil Producers Trade Sections, OPTS of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry”, Musa added.