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Groups call on NASS to act on PIB

21 January 2014, 07:37

Abuja - Some Civil Society Organisations on Monday in Abuja called on the National Assembly to take quick action on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The group pointed out that the non-passage of the bill portends great danger to the future of the oil and gas sector which is the epicentre of Nigerian economy.

Speaking at a media roundtable in Abuja, the Programme Coordinator of the African Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development, Monday Osasah, said that the delay had led to billions of dollars investment loss.

“The delay in the passage has led to a situation where billions of dollars in investments have found their way into sister countries like Angola, Ghana and Burkina Faso where there are stable policies.”

“Final investment decisions on various oil and gas projects have suffered series of setbacks because the investors are sceptical about the fate of the bill,” Osasah said.

Dauda Garuba of the Revenue Watch Institute, an advocacy group, said the PIB might not be an end in itself but to a greater extent would promote massive reforms in the industry.

“The discretionary powers of the minister, the clandestine issuance and withdrawal of licences by the president are the major issues that threaten the PIB,” he said.

Garuba noted that the position of some Civil Liberty Organisations and the National Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative about the bill, were not different.

He said that the group wanted the lawmakers to address issues bordering on environment, ecology, transparency and accountability as well as open bidding through the lawful procurement due processes.

He listed the others to include issues on payment of signature bonuses, taxes and royalties.

“We want the Open Bidding Process to go through Public Procurement Act.”

“We hear all sorts of things about how licences are issued under the carpet; that is why we keep insisting on the open bidding process.”

“We must go through a due process,” Garuba stressed.

-    NAN


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