Why Buhari Has Not Signed PIGB Into Law – Experts
President Muhammadu Buhari, has not signed the harmonised version of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) into law because he is still studying the document to adequately understand its content, experts in the petroleum industry have disclosed.
The National Assembly recently harmonised and passed the PIGB which is a creation of the omnibus Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
They also reportedly transmitted the bill to Buhari for assent into law, but the president has yet to do that.
But speaking at a recent workshop organised by Emerald Energy Institute of the University of Port Harcourt, and the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reforms in Nigeria (FOSTER), which was organised to inform petroleum host and impacted communities on the content of the bill, Prof. Wumi Iledare, who is the Director of the institute, gave reasons why Buhari was yet to append his signature on the PIGB.
Iledare, who amongst other experts at the forum, made attempts to address the concerns raised by host community representatives about the PIGB at the forum, explained the president needed to understand the bill before he assents to it.
He said in a communique at the end of the meeting that: “The delay in assenting to the PIGB is due to the need for adequate understanding on the part of the President.”
Similarly, on the communities’ concerns as to why the PIGB was given a priority attention as against the host communities bill, Iledare stated that: “The PIGB is regarded as the easiest of the four draft bills in terms of ease of passage. Hence, it was given first consideration. However, the PIHCB (Petroleum Industry Host Communities Bill) is moving in tandem with the others Petroleum Industry Administration (PIAB) and Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB).”
With regards to concerns raised by the communities about divestment of shares in the oil assets as prescribed in the PIGB, Iledare, explained that the primary essence of selling shares was to raise funds for the companies and for development of Nigeria.
He noted the bill also provided for handling of liabilities, and that government would still own 100 per cent of the shares of the Petroleum Asset Management Company which will be registered within the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) of the country in accordance with the principles of incorporation as practiced in Brazil.
Regarding host communities’ readiness for the expected changes that the PIGB would bring, he said there were various institutions that already existed and which will aid in the management of funds set aside for the regions where oil is produced from.
Furthermore, Iledare added, that the PIHCB provided that funds can only be disbursed for infrastructure development in the host communities.
According to him, International Oil Companies (IOCs) in the country have been less enthusiastic about the reforms because of the poor processes that were associated with the previous attempt to pass the PIB.
He reportedly listed the differences between the PIGB and PIB to include: “The current bill has been split into four – PIGB, PIHCB, PIAB and PIFB, to avoid previous failure of the PIB, and thus make amendments easier; provision of clear and unambiguous definition of roles and responsibilities and accountability, in addition to governance structure for the industry and stakeholders.”
He also said that other differences were that: “The proposed framework is practicable and workable, although contributions from stakeholders will help to improve its clarity; whittling down of the discretionary powers of the petroleum minister to allocate oil blocks.”