The Chairman, Strides Group, owners of Strides Energy & Maritime Ltd., an Offshore /Swamp Oil and Gas construction services company, Mr. Moritz Abazie has called on the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the remaining three parts of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
While commending the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), he noted that investment potentials and security of the nation's oil and gas sector is still locked down in the other pieces of legislation yet to be passed.
Speaking to The Guardian, Abazie hinted on the need for the bills to receive accelerated attention in its passage to help unlock billions of dollars of investments that have been held up due to the uncertainty of its passage.
Passage of the first section captioned Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) is definitely a good development. This section deals with management of NNPC, when this bill is signed into law, its implementation will see to the unbundling of NNPC, to create four new entities aimed at improving efficiency and transparency in management. Having broken the Jinx, efforts can be channelled to passing the remaining three very important components of the PIB, via the fiscal framework, host community issues and the Petroleum Industry Administration bill".
"Passage of the fiscal framework bill will unlock investment into the industry especially the offshore sector. The bill on host community issues will help address the challenges of insecurity if it gives attractive stake to host communities, enough to incentivise them to protect oil and gas assets in their various domains".
The oil and gas sector expert described as strange the delay in the passage of the PIB for 17 years considering the obvious benefits of the proposed bill that is aimed at increasing transparency and stimulating growth in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
According to him, the greatest threat that has hindered the progress of the oil and gas sector is the non-passage of the PIB as the failure to deal with the legislation has caused the country so much loss of investment opportunities
"From a general business environment perspective, any foreign investor you speak to about doing business in Nigeria will outline numerous challenges ranging from the threat of crime, and associated need for security countermeasures, lack of essential infrastructures, congestion of the ports, general atmosphere of corruption and weak judicial and law enforcement infrastructure. All these border on peculiar risk and cost elements that erode competitive advantage. For the oil and gas industry, the elephant in the room at the moment is the PIB, the failure to deal with this legislation has caused the country so much loss of investment opportunities. Yes, the petroleum Industry Governance Bill has been passed, a good starting point indeed, however much of the knotty and controversial issues lie in the unpassed components of the legislation", he asserted.