The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has explained that the Petroleum Industry Bill pending before the National Assembly in the last seven years requires extensive engagements with all stakeholders to iron out all grey areas.
Dr. Kachikwu who chaired a special session on the proposed law at the ongoing 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja titled: Legal andRegulatory Framework of the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria: Review of existing Laws and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), described the bill as an essential legislation which must be approached with all the seriousness and thoroughness it deserves. “PIB is a serious affair, it is an essential piece of legislation but as we all know a lot of engagement is required to address all the issues because the oil and gas environment has changed.
There are issues of cost, with oil going down to $40 per barrel, the PIB cannot be the same,’’ Dr. Kachikwu said. The NNPC GMD explained that because of the volume of extensive consultation and time required to make the bill a workable document, it is only natural to kick start the reforms in the industry with the existing laws while waiting for the eventual passage of the proposed law. “The reform of the petroleum industry is key and it is an area where we are going to put a lot of focus. Transparency is key.
Restructuring is key. Sometimes people don’t realize that the problem hasn’t been NNPC, it is a problem of political will to go forward and implement the outcome of researches and reports that had been done but fortunately for us this time around, that is what the President has brought to the table.
He has strong political will to see this through,’’ he said. Commenting on what the Federal Government intends to do with the draft legislation, Dr. Kachikwu informed that PIB has come to stay though it would take a bit of time to perfect the draft.
-Sopuruchi Onwuka and Paschal Emeka, Abuja