Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura, has said that the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), now awaiting final passage in the Red Chamber holds immense benefits for all Nigerians.
Alasoadura in a statement in Abuja, said the PIGB would not only help to create more jobs for Nigerians but will also foster a conducive business environment for petroleum operations when signed into law.
He stated that under the new PIGB regime, it will become illegal to employ foreigners for certain skills that can be sourced locally and that even where such skills are sourced from abroad, due to unavailability locally, it would be mandatory for Nigerians to understudy such an expatriate.
While the PIGB will enhance exploitation and exploration of petroleum resources in the country for the benefit of all Nigerians, he said it would also increase power generation and industrial development capacity of the country through abundant domestic gas supply.
He said that the law would also create profit-driven oil entities, encourage investment in the the nation’s petroleum industry and tremendously increase government’s revenue.
“Government revenue from oil industry will increase,” he said. “This means more funds in the hands of government to engage in developmental activities, ideally. The downstream sector will become fully deregulated. In other words, subsidy will be totally removed.”
He said the law will also bring about a fully deregulated and liberalized downstream petroleum sector, create efficient and effective regulatory agencies and promote the development of Nigerian local content in the oil industry.
Besides, he stated that the emphasis on local content will not only be in the area of skills, but would also be applicable to materials sourcing, “This means more jobs for Nigerian local contractors, especially those from the oil producing regions.”
The Senator stated that “The PIB vests ownership and management of all petroleum resources, offshore or onshore, in the Federal Government of Nigeria, which is to manage them on behalf of all Nigerians.
“This means that irrespective of where the oil is found, it belongs to the government of Nigeria. Of course, equity calls for special consideration for localities where the resources are mined. This is taken care of by the Revenue sharing laws and other provisions of this Bill like the Host Community Fund.”
He stated that since Gas is still under-focused in Nigeria and its potential as a source of energy untapped, the PIB seeks to maximize the benefits of the nation’s gas resources. “If well explored, this will boost power supply in Nigeria,” he said.
He added that the PIB will also lead to the establishment of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Investment Pact Scheme (NOGIPS) which will ensure that components of the oil industry equipment can be manufactured locally.
He said the new law further makes provision for the protection of the health, safety and the environment in petroleum operations, “what Saro Wiwa and co fought for, and the initial grudge of the Niger Delta militants – will be addressed to a large extent.”