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BER report says Nigeria generated N83 trillion in 37 years, yet 87 million live in abject poverty

...As Reps promise to pass PIB mid 2020

The Benchmark Exercise Report (BER) of the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC), a non-profit policy institute on natural resource governance has indicated that, Nigeria realized N83 trillion in the last 37 years from oil revenue, yet 87 million Nigerians  still live in abject Poverty.

According to report, with average daily crude oil production of 1.9mbpd, Nigeria produces more crude oil per day than Norway’s 1.84mbpd, yet Norway  has 956 billion dollars saved for future generation while Nigeria has less than 1.3 billion dollars, putting millions of Nigerians at risk.

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The Report which presented the biennial findings from an assessment of Nigeria’s petroleum sector which covers from 2017 to 2019 was launched on Thursday in Abuja.

The Report which emanated from the research conducted by NCCR in Partnership with Center for Public Policy (CPP) Center for Social Justice  (CSJ), Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA) amongst others, covered local impact, expiration and licensing, accountability of state owned enterprise, taxation and company payments as well as transparency and accountability.

Findings showed that, impact of oil and gas between the local communities from 2017 to 2019 have some notable decline in terms of strategy by the government to transfer benefits and to ensure that the impact of oil extraction on local community is minimised.

With regards to expiration and licensing, the Study discovered that, since the President  did not assent the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), discretionary powers are still retained  by the Minister of Petroleum  by the minister of petroleum over the licensing process while there is no pre licensing Environmental Impact Assessments, (EIAs).

On accountability of state owned enterprise, the research found that, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) audit report is not readily available, refinery losses continue and NNPC lacks focus while there are conflicts of interest due to the President’s failure to assent the PIGB.

Findings on taxation and company payments revealed that, “costly non essential investment incentives by the government have not been totally minimised for the oil and gas. Less revenue for the federal government due to flare gas tax credits, more health issues for residents in host and impacted communities were observed”.

The study found that with regards to transparency and accountability, “Nigeria has not improved in the area of transparency and accountability since 2017. DPR and NEITI have continued to disclose data, audit bill not signed though it has been passed by the National Assembly”.

Speaking at the launch of the BER, the Chairman Expert Advisory Panel NNRC, Odein Ajumogobia said the management of the oil and gas resources is not optimal with regards to the impact on the country and the people, hence the need for the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

“Why we want a Petroleum Industry Bill is to have a law that is predictable, if you have a law that allows a man to do whatever he likes, then investors are not going to be very pleased with that because they can’t project. Investors will like to look at the law and not the man. We must get a good law,  a bad law will drive away investors”, Ajumogobia stated.

In his remarks, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by a member of the House, Henry Nwawuba disclosed that the PIB would be passed by the middle of this year.

Nwawuba explained that the last Assembly did a lot of work on the Bill and got it ready but for some disagreements between the National Assembly and Executive, all of which has to do with petroleum operation, how much power does the Minister has and the revenue sharing formula, it was not signed into law.

“W have set a timeline to pass it at the middle of this year. In the next 4 to 5 months we should get it passed but of course,  you know it is a bicameral legislature, whatever we do in the House of representatives must be replicated in the Senate and then we need to confirm, but we are confident that we will meet the deadline”, he assure.

James Kwen and Gift Wada, Abuja

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