By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has said that the three new Petroleum Industry Bills (PIB) being considered by the Senate will boost economic growth and lead to a more efficient oil sector that is globally competitive.
Saraki disclosed this on Monday while declaring open a 3-day public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), organized by the Senate Joint Committee on the PIB.
According to the statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President Sanni Onogu, Saraki informed that the three bills under consideration would have tremendous impact on the economy and investment opportunities when passed into law.
The bills, according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja, include the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill 2018, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill 2018 and the Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Bill 2018.
Recall that the Senate recently passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) which is now before the Conference Committee of both chambers for harmonization.
The objective of the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, according to the President of the Senate, is to transform the administration of the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the Nigerian petroleum industry.
He said: “Firstly, the Bill creates a framework that will free up acreages that are not being developed by current license and lease holders, thereby creating opportunities for new investors. This will bring substantial new investment to our oil and gas industry.
“Secondly, it ensures effective management of the environment by petroleum operators and administrators.
“Thirdly, it provides a framework to unleash midstream activities which will open up the market for the supply of gas and other downstream products, for economic growth. Above all, I believe the most important feature of this Bill is that it provides much needed legal backing for the deregulation of our downstream petroleum sector,” he stated.
He noted that the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill, aims to fix the anomalies in the nation’s existing fiscal framework for the petroleum industry which is outdated, especially with regards to royalty and tax regimes.
“For instance, billions of dollars have been lost through non-invocation of provisions in subsisting laws, at those times when crude oil price crosses certain thresholds,” Saraki said. “The Bill will fix this as well as remove difficulties and uncertainties surrounding our tax assessment and collection system.”
He added: “Additionally, it will remove distortions created by the Associated Gas Framework Agreement; and provide comprehensive fiscal terms for the development of our abundant natural gas resources.
“Perhaps the most critical objective of the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill is that it will enhance our international competitiveness and make Nigeria a choice destination for oil and gas investors,” he stated.
The Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Bill, according to him, provides for a legal framework for the development of the petroleum host and impacted communities.
“It is a pan-Nigeria Bill that will cater for communities that are hosts to upstream assets, as well as significant midstream and downstream assets and infrastructure.
“The Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Bill is unique because it overcomes the pitfalls of past efforts; and is structured to bring funding for the development of host communities, under the direct control of the communities themselves.
“We expect the Bill to make for greater harmony and partnership among the various stakeholders in the sector. I urge everyone to pay particular attention to presentations by representatives of host communities,” he said.
He stated further that the bills are critical to the growth of the nation’s economy, the livelihood of all Nigerians and the interests of investors.
“We have the task of delivering these Bills which, together, will enhance the growth of our oil and gas industry, modernise our fiscal system and enhance competitiveness, while creating harmony for all stakeholders,” he said.