Nigeria’s minister of state for petroleum, Timipre Sylva, says the much-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be passed into law by Nigeria’s Parliament by mid-2020.
According to Sylva, the ninth National Assembly will likely break the jinx this time around and pass the long-awaited PIB, which has not been assented to for more than a decade.
Nigeria has been on a perpetual voyage with PIB, which is one of its most important bills ever to be contemplated in Nigeria’s history in a journey that began 16 years ago with a lot of anticipation and promises.
Speaking at the first day of 3rd edition of the Nigerian International Petroleum Summit in Abuja with the theme “Widening the Integration Circle: Technology, Knowledge, Sustainability Partnership,” Sylva said a new version of the new PIB will be sent to the Senate next week.
The minister noted that there was existing consensus among industry players on the need to review the laws governing oil and gas production activities in Nigeria. “The existing laws are obsolete and require modernization based on current realities,” he said.
The PIB is still stuttering through legislation after passing through four presidents, five presidential terms and five legislative tenures however the governance aspect of the bill which is Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) is currently awaiting President Muhammad Buhari (who is also the Minister of Petroleum) signature before it becomes a law.
But Sylva is optimistic that given the cordial relationship between the Executive arm of government and the Ninth Assembly, the PIB would be passed on or before mid-2020.
“We are focused on positioning gas as a transitional form of fuel from carbon emitters to renewables. The seriousness of this is evidenced in the effort to focus on gas business with 2020 tagged as the year of gas,” he said.
On transitioning to renewables, the minister noted, “As Africans, we are advocating that the transition to renewables be done through gas as it is a cleaner form of fuel and we have an abundance of it.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented at the event by the secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, said Nigeria as an oil-producing nation remained ready and accessible for legitimate investment from all interested countries, individuals and partners.
“Let me assure foreign delegates that their investments are well secured in Nigeria and a high return on investment is always guaranteed. It cannot get better anywhere,” Mustapha said.
He added that towards achieving the realisation of a safe and secure investment environment, his administration had taken steps to reposition the oil and gas sector.