PIB: Reps blame Presidency NNPC for delay in passage

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The delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill is not caused by the National Assembly as many think, but by the Presidency and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the House of Representatives Committee on Commerce has said.

According to the Chairman, House Committee on Commerce, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga (PDP, Ebonyi) who spoke in Abuja yesterday at a one-day interactive session on investment in the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector with the title;“Enhancing The Oil and Gas Value Chain”, the legislature would have passed the PIB, if not for the incessant reviews of the bill from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as the Presidency.

People always think that the delay being experienced by the PIB is caused by the National Assembly which is very wrong. The Bill would have been passed if not for the way both the Executive and the NNPC kept recalling it for content update and modification in line with current trends, so its not solely on the part of the National Assembly as Nigerians are being made to believe, the lawmaker said.

According to him, Nigeria as the largest market in Africa offers unique investment opportunities in refining, storage, transportation and marketing of petroleum, petrochemicals and allied products and this would be enhanced with further reforms by the government.

“The Nigerian oil and gas value chain is undergoing a radical transformation following government’s commitment towards the key legislative reforms and aspiration towards firmly becoming the undisputed regional hub for gas based industries such as fertilizers, petrochemical and ethanol” he added.

In order to encourage investors, Dr. Soala Ariweriokuma of the NNPC said there must be enabling legislations for the enhancement of oil and gas value chain in Nigeria.

He said there is need for lawmakers in the country to expedite actions on bringing about relevant legislations that would minimize losses and maximize economic gains .

According to him, recent discoveries in the oil and gas sector has brought about stiff competition and the review of tax regime could be a necessary incentive in that direction.

Dr. Soala said: Nigeria may be a major producer of oil and gas in the world, but the world is not waiting for Nigeria to arrive. The recent discoveries of shale oil and shale gas in the US, Europe and China has adversely affected the market for Nigerian cargos especially to the US. Before now, Nigeria was shipping about 13 cargos of gas to US per annum. But that has been reduced to one due to the discovery of shale gas.

Chris Kaka of the Chartered Institute of Financial Investment of Nigeria (CIFIN) called for the review of the tax administration in the country particularly with respect to the period of tax holiday an investor gets.

The indiscriminate giving of tax incentives to investors in the sector needs to be reviewed to favour the nation’s economy if we must correct the incidence of running our budgets on deficit which has been on since 2002. A situation where a company such as the NLNG would be given a tax holiday up to the period of ten years is not healthy for the economy he said.