NEITI tells Reps, Give petroleum industry bill accelerated consideration

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has called on the House of Representatives to give the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, an accelerated consideration.
In a statement on Friday, signed by Ogbonnaya Orji, its director of communications, NEITI urged the House of Representatives to consider the bill on its merit in the overriding public interest.
The Nigerian Senate had on Thursday passed the PIGB, seventeen years after the process commenced in April 2000.
NEITI, in its statement, said it welcomed the bold step by the Senate to pass the bill, describing the decision as “legendary” and “historic”, “given the challenges the bill has passed through in its legislative journey for almost two decades.”
NEITI, an agency set up to enthrone transparency and accountability in the management of extractive resources in Nigeria, said it has legitimate interest in the PIGB in view of its strategic importance to the realization of its mandate.
“We also note that the objective of a petroleum sector Law remains to develop a dynamic governance framework that will re-position the Petroleum industry to fully embrace competition, openness, accountability, professionalism as well as better profit returns on investments,” the statement said.
“NEITI also notes that the public outcry that greeted the failure of the last National Assembly to pass this important Bill perhaps informed the current Senate’s resolve to revive legislative interest on the Bill resulting in the milestone achievement recorded at the moment.
“We are delighted that to avoid the controversies that killed the last PIB, the current Senate, carefully assembled experts who carefully broke the Bill into various segments beginning with the governance aspect of the proposed law. The PIGB now passed by the Senate is a product of this creative initiative,” it said.
In 2016, the statement said, NEITI published a researched Policy Brief titled “Urgency of a new Law for the Petroleum Sector”, in which it alerted the nation that Nigeria had so far lost over $200 billion as a result of absence of the Law.
“These lost revenues were as a result of investments withheld or diverted by investors to other (more predictable) jurisdictions,” it said.
“The hedging by investors stems from the expectation that the old rules would no longer apply, but not knowing when the new ones would materialize,” the statement added.
The statement also disclosed that NEITI’s 2013 audit of the oil and gas sector revealed that a cumulative $10.4bn and N378.7bn were lost as a result of under-remittances, inefficiencies, theft or absence of a clear governance framework for the sector, adding that the cost to the nation in 2013 alone was N1.74 trillion.

“It is now hoped that with the prospects of a new Law coming in to place,” the agency said, “this huge revenue losses to the nation as a result of governance lapses will be eliminated.”

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