The Executive Director of Extractive360, Mrs. Juliet Alohan Ukanwosu, has described the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act 2021 as a development in the right direction.
Commending President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Petroleum Industry Bill into law, she explained that the development will bring to an end the many years of stagnation and investment drought in the Nigerian oil sector.
She explained that “For almost 20years that the law was in the making, Nigeria lost investment opportunities to new frontiers in the continent. Investments worth billions of dollars were diverted to other countries, existing investments were moved out in some cases.
“This is because the oil majors were not ready to hold on to their money and wait for you to make a decision, especially where Nigeria was no longer the darling in Africa. Other countries had within the period put in place a more predictable fiscal environment. So the natural thing was for them to attract the right investment.”
At a time when the world is gradually moving away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources, it was high time Nigeria had its oil reform law in place and make good use of the years left of the oil age, which is put at around 40 to 50 more years.
Since the PIB was assented to, Extractive 360 has observed the pushback against the law, particularly over the 3percent provided for the host community fund. While we agree that the oil producing communities deserve more funding and development, let us not totally dismiss the benefits derivable from the entire law because of concerns over the host community funding element.
“We should not lose sight of the overall benefit of the law to the Nigerian oil industry and the economy in general, we must give the law a chance at reforming our oil industry and usher in a healthy legal environment, investment inflow and more job opportunities for Nigerians.”
However, Extractive360 is concerned that despite the enormous work done by CSOs in pushing for the passage and assent of the PIB, no civil society organization was named among the implementation committee by the president.
“Civil society organizations in their role as demand side actors have been unrelenting over the years, consistently demanding passage and assent to the PIB. Now that we eventually got it done, it is expected that at least a representative of the civil society should have been named among the implementation committee. This is not too late, the president can still correct this omission,” Ukanwosu said.