Media Executives drawn from across the country, have called on Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, to give his accent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), in order to accelerate much needed reforms in the Oil/Gas sector and send the right signals to willing investors eager to participate in the Nigerian petroleum industry.
A communique issued by the Media Executives at the end of the parley to discuss the state of the PIGB, on Thursday, October 11, 2018 in Enugu, Enugu State, South East Nigeria, decried the latest refusal of President Buhari to accent to the PIGB, already passed by the National Assembly, noting that this was a major set-back in the efforts to unbundle the Nigerian Petroleum industry, introduce greater transparency and ease of operations in its activities and create a favourable environment to attract more foreign and indigenous participation in the petroleum upstream and downstream sectors.
The Media Stake-holders roundtable, which was attended by top practitioners from the Print, Electronic and Online constituencies, further noted the refusal of various Nigerian Presidents over the last 16 years, to accent to the original Petroleum Industry Bill (PIG), which has now been restructured and harmonized into Four (4) component sections, and while describing it as a huge stumbling block in the efforts to drive reforms in the country’s oil/gas industry, called on the media assume the role as game-changers and engage in more robust advocacy in the collective effort to finally pass the Bill into Law, as soon as possible.
The full Communique from the Media roundtable organised by The Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER) and facilitated by The Republic Media, reads thus:
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF MEDIA STAKEHOLDERS ROUNDTABLE ON PETROLEUM INDUSTRY BILLS HELD ON 11TH OCTOBER, 2018 AT OAKLAND HOTEL ENUGU
A cross section of journalists from the print, broadcast and online media organizations across Nigeria held a roundtable in Enugu to discuss the state of the Petroleum Industry Bills. The event featured presentations by industry analysts and discussion by participants. At the end of the deliberations, the participants unanimously adopted the following resolutions:
- President Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) represents a very disheartening setback on efforts to actualize policy reforms in the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector, a quest which was initiated about two decades ago;
- The decline of assent to the PIGB was a missed opportunity to advance a token of the commitment of the Nigerian government to modernizing the architecture of Nigerian petroleum laws in order to rid it of opaqueness and inefficiency and introduce it to the regime of international best practices, transparency and accountability;
- The decline of assent to the PIGB signals to prospective investors and industry players absence of the political will on the part of the Nigerian government to change the fundamentals of the landscape of the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector. This will inevitably escalate the trend of loss in withheld and diverted capital investments which is plaguing the sector;
- The huge potential of the Petroleum Industry Bills to create wealth, generate jobs and increase Nigeria’s competitiveness in the global energy market ought to take precedence over all political considerations and the security and comfort of the vested interests;
- The descent of Venezuela to a dystopian basket case is a cautionary warning that the failure to reform will ultimately culminate in devastating consequences;
- The Nigerian petroleum industry is the national cash cow and the most critical sector of the economy. The industry’s capacity to fulfil its traditional role in the Nigerian economy is increasingly being undermined by obsolete petroleum legislation. The recurrent deferment of necessary policy reforms in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry is setting Nigeria up for an existential economic crisis on the scale of the Venezuela nightmare;
- Nigerian journalists have a responsibility to deploy their skills and platforms towards pressurizing all key actors to take the urgent actions needed to reposition the Petroleum Industry in order to benefit all stakeholders and guarantee sustainable business environment;
- Nigerian journalists can be the game changers in this seemingly intractable reform process. They are well positioned to make/exert influence on the general public and the critical mass of key actors;
- It is possible to mount an inclusive advocacy campaign that will rally all Nigerians around the win-win positives of the Petroleum Industry Bills;
- Going forward, we will accord the Petroleum Industry Bills the priority attention they deserve in our reportage.
The Republic Media Limited
11th October, 2018