Abuja — The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has expressed its delight with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) into law by the House of Representatives, saying it was a bold step taken by both chambers of the National Assembly.
The Senate passed the PIGB in May last year, paving the way for the bill's assent by President Muhammadu Buhari.
NEITI said it was expecting acts of process lapses and outright stealing in the oil industry to end with the passage of the PIGB and its anticipated assent by the president.
NEITI said in a statement issued yesterday by its Director of Communications, Dr, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, that the absence of a governance law in Nigeria's oil industry had cost the country a lot in monetary and investment terms.
It noted that it had previously notified Nigerians that the current stagnation of investment opportunities in the oil sector was as a result of the absence of a new law for the sector, and that over $200 billion in revenue was not coming to the country because of this.
It also said the revenue losses were as a result of investments withheld or diverted by investors to other more predictable jurisdictions, and over $10.4 billion and N378.7 billion were lost through under-remittances, inefficiencies, theft or absence of a clear governance framework for the oil and gas industry.
NEITI said in 2013, the country's oil sector lost N1.74 trillion largely as a result of the absence of a new law, adding that the new governance law would restore these anomalies.
"The decision of the Senate and the House of Representatives to consider the bill as priority, resulting in its eventual passage is bold, courageous and progressive.
"That is given the challenges the bill has passed through in its legislative journey for over ten years," said NEITI, which noted that its interest in the bill was due to its role as a transparency and accountability agency in the management of Nigeria's extractive industries.
It added: "Furthermore, NEITI notes that the implementation of the global extractive industries transparency initiative, to which Nigeria is a key signatory, has over the years been frustrated by the absence of a dynamic law that suits modern business modules and trends in the ever evolving oil and gas industry.
"NEITI remains convinced that the PIGB, when assented to by the president, will provide a dynamic governance framework required to re-position the petroleum industry to fully embrace competition, openness, accountability, professionalism, and better profit returns on investments for both companies and government," it stated.
It explained that it was encouraged that the National Assembly threw politics aside and dealt with the PIGB issue with the attention it deserves, adding that it was expecting an early presidential assent to it.