19 December 2012

Nigeria: U.S., Canada, Netherlands Lobby to Kill PIB

However, the IOCs have been expressing stiff opposition to the passage of the bill which was first sent to the lawmakers in December 2008 by late President Umaru Musa Yar'adua but was withdrawn by Jonathan in April 2010.

Speaker Aminu Waziri Tam-buwal had on November 15 constituted a 23-man adhoc panel on the bill.

However, less than one month after the committee was set up, foreign powers have commenced moves to lobby the lawmakers not to pass the bill as sent in by the president, Daily Trust was told by an impeccable source in Abuja.

Last week, US Ambassador Terence McCulley, his Canadian counterpart Ambassador Chris Cooter and that of the Netherlands Bert J. Ronhaar under the auspices of a group tagged: "Ambassadors Forum" visited the committee where they expressed serious reservations to the passage of the bill.

The three envoys presented a position paper to the committee in which they said the bill as drafted by the executive would reduce crude oil production in Nigeria as many companies would divest their investment since doing business would not be profitable for them.

A copy of the position paper seen by Daily Trust indicates that Nigeria will lose 240,000 jobs in the oil and gas sector if PIB is passed.

A top government official who does not want to be mentioned because he was not authorised to speak on the matter told Daily Trust that the major issue of contention for the ICOS were clauses in the bill which will increase government's revenue generation from Join Venture (JVs) and Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs).

This, according to the source, is a follow up to new conditions attached to both JVs and PSCs that enable the government to raise its share to rates at par with what obtains in other oil producing countries as well as introduces royalties that will allow marginal field producers to grow and compete in line with the Nigerian Content Act signed into law by Jonathan in April 22, 2010.

Reacting, the US mission in Nigeria said US was not against the bill.

"The United States is not against a Petroleum Industry Bill that is fair and equitable to all stakeholders. Approval of a sound PIB would attract investment in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria," the US embassy said in an emailed response to Daily Trust.

For its part, the Canadian High Commission said: "Canada said has not taken any position on the PIB."

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