9 January 2013

Nigeria: Group Urges NASS to Avoid Politicising Petroleum Industry Bill

The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), on Wednesday appealed to the National Assembly to avoid playing politics with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The Executive Director of the Centre, Dr Otive Igbuzor, made the appeal at the workshop on Transparency and Accountability in the Oil and Gas sector in Abuja. Igbuzor said that it was imperative that the bill was not only passed into law, but in a form that would ensure transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.

"Let me use this opportunity to appeal to members of the National Assembly to avoid politics and look at the PIB and pass a bill that will be beneficial to the country," he said. He said that the objectives of the workshop was to monitor and advocate for the passage of the PIB and ensure implementation of the subsidy reports.

Igbuzor said that the centre would undertake research into petroleum product pricing in Nigeria and engage major agencies in the sector, parliament and international actors to canvass for reform.

The director said that pricing of petroleum products had been a huge challenge over the past three decades, stressing that citizens had little understanding of pricing of the product and operations.

According to Igbuzor, since January 2012, strike against increase of the price of fuel, there has been several probes of the sector which have revealed monumental corruption in the sector.

He said that the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives (NEITI) had concluded several audits, which gave concrete facts of the lack of transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector. "Reports of audits of the oil and gas sector by NEITI show corruption, lack of capacity, impunity and lack of transparency and accountability in the management of oil and gas resources," he said.

He called on the Civil Society Organisations to engage in evidence based advocacy and campaigns on how to improve transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.

Earlier, Chief Dom Nwachukwu, a Consultant Forensic Geoscientist, said oil and gas sector was key to extractive sector, which account for over 90 per cent of the revenues to the nation's economy. Nwachukwu said that considering the role of the sector in the Nigeria economy, all hands must be on deck to ensure transparency and accountability in the sector for the benefit of all Nigerians. (NAN)

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