Nigeria has renamed its Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), making it a new petroleum bill that provides a new legal, governance, and regulatory framework for the industry.
According to the Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the main objectives of the new petroleum bill include the establishment of a framework for creating of profit-driven and commercially oriented entities that ensure value; the creation of efficient institutions governing the industry with clear and separate roles; and the internationalization of the industry. Its secondary objectives include creating a conducive business environment for oil operators; promoting accountability and transparency in the industry; and defining essential investment elements.
Expressing the need to pass the new bill as soon as possible, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) president Igwe Achese called on the National Assembly to speed up the process to return the industry to the path of growth. In doing so, oil and gas analyst Ifeanyi Izeze also stated that the government should ensure the bill is able to address concerns within the Niger Delta region. As Izeze pointed out, passing the bill in tranches could delay efforts at resolving problems in the country’s oil communities, particularly endangering the peace efforts in the Niger Delta. He explained:
“It is wise for the government to ensure that the bill properly address the needs of the oil producing communities. Their desires to pass the bill in tranches, which may delay the aspect of community development, may lead to Niger Delta crises. The Federal Government should also ensure that it insists on earning higher revenue from the crude oil resources. The International Oil Companies (IOCs) have cheated the country for too long in respect to fiscal policy. If they are not ready to agree with the government’s fiscal policy, it is better they sell off their assets and leave the country.”
While the debate on this new petroleum bill at the National Assembly has been characterized by controversies, it recently achieved a new feat that raised hopes that it will be passed before long.