What is the Petroleum Industry Bill and why are Nigerians clamouring for it?

“The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will improve governance of the sector by strengthening institutions in the areas of clarity of structures, roles, accountability, transparency, and overall efficiency and effectiveness,”  the President of the Women in Energy Network (WEIN),  Mrs Funmi Ogbue declared in a press statement.

The PIB bill is intended to deregulate the downstream petroleum sector, create efficient regulatory agencies, encourage the best practices in the management of the extraction of Nigeria’s oil and promote transparency in the administration of the petroleum resources in Nigeria. It was introduced under the administration of President Umaru Yaradua, in 2008.

Over time, there have been several reviews of the PIB bill under various governments, but none has yet signed it into law; significantly affecting the oil sector and the country negatively. The PIB bill, when finally signed into law, will encourage oil companies and investors to invest in Nigeria’s oil sector, bringing about growth and increased government revenues.

 

If it’s so great, then why the delay?

For almost two decades now, the bill has been in drafts stapled together with a lot of anticipation and unmet promises. It has failed to be passed into law, due to an inability for previous assemblies to agree when it comes to aspects of the bill.

Five months ago, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva had assured Nigerians that the PIB was currently with the Executive and will be sent to the National Assembly. Fast track to last week, Sylva, during an appearance on Arise News Channel, suggested that his ministry would within two weeks, again, transmit the bill to the parliament.

The nation, entirely exhausted with the waiting, are taking to social media to apply the necessary pressure on the government; demanding the bill be passed into law. Nigerians are questioning President Buhari on the whereabouts of the bill, asserting that it was necessary for the development of the country.

 

 

Many Twitter users are also highlighting the importance of this bill to their community, declaring that it would protect the Niger Delta environment from harmful extractive practices. 

 

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