Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have said it is important for the Civil Society and the media to monitor the implementation of the newly signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.
The Stakeholders who spoke during a roundtable organised by the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) in Abuja said the PIA appears to be a large law with many provisions that citizens do not understand.
In her opening remarks, Executive Director of CTA, Faith Nwadishi said roundable was to enable CSOs and the media get clarification on some provisions of the PIA to enable them carry out advocacy campaign to enlighten Nigerians.
She said special attention must be paid to Sections 83, 104, 105 and 108 which specifically makes provision for contract transparency, gas flaring penalties and natural gas flare elimination plan respectively.
She said, “We may recall that for many years, both the civil society and the government had sought for an overhaul of the oil and gas industry in such a manner to benefit the host communities, increase revenue for the government, and create an enabling environment for investment and the overall development of the citizens and country.
“It is shocking that a law that will be beneficial to the nation was so delayed for about twenty years. Now, here we are, we have a law that did not encompass the desires of all stakeholders in the sector especially, the host communities. Irrespective of how defective we think the Act is, the important thing is that we now have an Act To PROVIDE LEGAL, GOVERNANCE, REGULATORY AND FISCAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE NIGERIAN PETROLEUM INDUSTRY, THE DEVELOPMENT OF HOST COMMUNITIES.”
In his remarks, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, the executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), said the requirements for disclosure of contracts and beneficial owners will enthrone a culture of fair, transparent and competitive bidding process, even as the provisions support the implementation of key emerging policy issues in the EITI Standard.
According to him the PIA is not perfect, but deserves commendation because of the provisions of separation of policy, regulatory, administrative, and commercial roles.
Dr Orji added further that the provisions on energy transition, robust provisions on gas development, environmental standards and host community issues not only support EITI new policy objectives, but will help enhance revenue and economic growth for Nigeria and directly transfer benefit to oil producing communities.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari, in his presentation titled , ‘Clarifying the mandate of the NNPC in the PIA 2021,’ said the PIA if properly implemented allows Nigeria to move away from its dependence on oil.
He explained that the main focus for now is to grow the base of all enablers to support a holistic economic development.
Kyari who was represented by Mr. Lawal Musa, said a viable Mid and Downstream sectors will result in job creation and move the country away from an extractive country to value addition.
“When the chains don’t connect the entire economy is disconnected because all key drivers of the economy rely on energy.
“If we get this right the royalty we would have been waiting for will be the tax from one Shoe Company. So for us, this is about creating value to allied industries. If we can’t make concrete decisions between now and the next 20 years, Nigeria would have missed the opportunity to use oil to get out of oil dependence,” Musa stated.
He explained further that the PIA allows for a voluntary migration to an IJV, where both parties can sit on a table and make decisions.
Mr. Henry Adigun, an expert in the oil and gas sector in his paper presentation cautioned that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC Ltd) being created by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, may fail to achieve desired objectives as envisaged by the Act if the right decisions are not taken with the implementation.
Adigun who presented the lead paper titled: ‘General Overview of the PIA 2021’ expressed concern over the composition of the board as appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari,
He noted that key among the implementation decisions is the appointment of the Board which is expected to drive the operations of the company.
Adigun said from an expert point of view the composition may not be capable to drive the company towards achieving the set objectives.
He said, “I am concerned about the quality of the appointments. I am concerned that the board is more political at this point in time. What should have mattered is people that have the understanding, experience and capability that can attract quality level of governance for NNPC to survive the next five years, because NNPC’s survival is critical for all of us.”