By Edith Ike-Eboh
An energy law expert, Mr Israel Aye, has urged the National Assembly to speedily pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to resolve challenges in the oil and gas industry for the economic growth of the country.
Aye, a Senior Partner, in Primera Africa Legal, made the call at an online workshop for journalists on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
It will be recalled that the National Assembly (NASS) said it is expecting the new PIB soon for deliberations and debate to begin on the much-awaited piece of legislation
He said that the delay in passage of the bill had contributed in no small measure to slowing down investments in the Nigerian petroleum industry, adding that it had hindered the development of the country’s economy.
According to him, the country has lost billions of naira as a result of the delay in the passage of the bill.
He said that the opportunity cost of the delay – in terms of industry, infrastructure and value addition to the economy – was too high.
He called on the National Assembly to ensure passage of the bill for the benefit of Nigerians.
“We believe that the Ninth National Assembly will break the jinx and pass the Petroleum Industry Bill,” he said.
Aye called on the Federal Government to focus more on utilising immense opportunities in the midstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum industry to grow the economy.
He advised that the government should exploit the petroleum industry as a stimulant to develop the country’s economy.
The lawyer claimed that over the years, the policy and legislative framework of the industry had been more export-focused and made little impact on Nigeria’s economic growth and development.
He said that efforts should be directed at encouraging increased domestic utilisation of petroleum resources and it derivatives.
Aye added that priority attention should be given to resource governance, describing it as an effective means to eradicate poverty.
According to him, strong resource governance helps to mitigate environmental hazards and safeguard the future of a country.
“Dividends from resource wealth can offer a path out of poverty, but without strong institutions and policies, countries are more likely to fall victims to the ‘resource curse’.
“ The results have become apparent as commodity booms have not contributed to growth and employment creation in non-extractive sectors.
“Resource governance matters to the people who live close to extraction sites.
“Competent management of oil, gas and mining can reduce environmental impact,” he said (NAN)