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PIB assent : Mixed feelings fresh challenges trail legislation.

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Muhammadu Buhari . photo by Collins Enahoro.

• OPEC says it will open door to new investment
• Host communities kick, decry exclusion
• PDP decries Presidential assent despite outcry, seeks urgent amendment
 

After five decades of operating an obsolete Petroleum Act, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, signed into law, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), not minding the controversial sections and criticisms that trailed the bill.

Working from home in compliance to the five days quarantine as required by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 after his return from London last Friday, the President assented to the Bill, while the ceremonial part of the new legislation will be done tomorrow (Wednesday), after the days of mandatory isolation would have been fulfilled.

The Petroleum Industry Act provides legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, development of host communities, and related matters.

The Senate had passed the Bill on July 15, 2021, while the House of Representatives did same on July 16, thus, ending a long wait for regulation of the sector since early 2000.

By assenting, the President possibly aligned with positions of the National Assembly, which proposes a 30 per cent revenue allocation for the development of frontier inland basins that are mainly in the North, dismal allocation to host communities, possible duopoly in the downstream sector, a 10 per cent management fee and other issues on Production Sharing Contract (PSC) as well as Joint Venture obligations.

In a letter to President Buhari, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammad Barkindo, commended the signing, stating that the law will enhance the Nigerian petroleum industry’s reputation, open the door to new investment, and ultimately strengthen its position to meet the world’s growing demand for energy.

“The enactment of this legislation is especially timely as the investment outlook becomes clouded by efforts aimed at accelerating a lower-carbon future. Furthermore, the new law will help harness Nigeria’s potential to achieve its programme of raising oil production to 4mb/d and oil reserves to 40 billion barrels, while also drawing on the country’s vast natural gas reserves to provide clean and efficient energy.

“In addition, these resources will be vital to supplying world markets with a broad portfolio of energy options, and support global efforts to alleviate energy poverty as outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainab