By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has disclosed that Nigeria has so far lost $200 billion, translating to about N61.1 trillion, for failing to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), a Bill expected to provide the enabling law for the petroleum industry.
In its latest policy brief titled ‘The Urgency of a New Petroleum Sector Law,’ the NEITI attributed some of the losses to projected investments, which it put at $120 billion ($15 billion yearly), that had been deferred due to regulatory uncertainty.
It then urged President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent steps to halt the unending delay in the passage of the Bill.
The agency stated that the losses incurred due to the non-passage of the Bill had been huge economically, stressing that it had caused a haemorrhage on Nigeria’s foreign reserves and the value of the Naira as the country imported refined petroleum products worth over $26.4 billion.
It said that the Nigerian petroleum industry has continued to deteriorate due to the fact that the laws governing the industry are not sufficient for effective regulation and, in some instances, too out-dated to be relevant in today’s global energy environment.
NEITI posited that, “Though eight years in the National Assembly, the motion around the PIB has been on for all of 16 years.
“Sadly, there is little about what is going on at the moment to suggest real movement or adequate learning from the past. The PIB ship should be rescued from a start-stop, unhurried and uncoordinated mode and brought swiftly ashore.”
It then recommended that, “There is need for President Muhammadu Buhari to take the lead by investing his presidential capital on this all-important legislation, putting in place a mechanism for rallying the stakeholders to a consensus, and using this law as one of the pillars of the bridge to a much needed economic recovery.”
NEITI advised Nigeria to learn from that country on the PIB.
“The fact that Ghana passed the law for its petroleum sector two years after commencing the process should be a lesson for Nigeria,” it submitted.