OrderPaperToday – The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has warned that the nation is running out of time following the country’s inability to put in place the essential laws required to fix the several governance problems confronting the oil and gas sector.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio stated this in Abuja at the opening of a Symposium designed to set the agenda on the recently Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).

According to Adio, the protracted delays in passing these laws are responsible for the uncertainties and stagnation of investment opportunities in the sector.

“NEITI published a policy brief in October 2016, entitled “The Urgency of a New Petroleum Sector Law.”

The paper estimated the cost of business uncertainty, lack of clarity and adequate transparency mechanism in eight years at more than $200bn.

The paper showed how Nigeria is increasingly in competition for oil and gas investment with many other African countries, not to talk of other jurisdictions.

“Now that we are hopefully close to the end of these circuitous journeys, it is important for us to focus on the next tasks in a way that will proactively and strategically ensure that the intentions of the proposed laws are fully realized; that we have not undertaken the long journey in vain,” he stated.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu in his message to the event stressed the importance of early passage of the relevant laws needed to reposition the sector in view of the strategic implications towards increasing revenue generation, inflow of investments, job creation and improved governance of the industry.

“The long – held aspiration of the Nigeria Upstream Sector is to grow crude oil reserves to 40 billion barrels and production to 4 million barrels of oil per day (bopd), improving local content, maximizing sectors value and most importantly derive as much revenues from oil and gas. One of such needed reforms is to overhaul the multiple laws governing exploration and production and help Nigeria reach this goal,” said Kachikwu.

In his speech, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC Dr. Maikanti Baru who was represented by the Group General Manager, Corporate Planning and Strategy, Mr. Bala Wunti, explained that the NNPC awaits presidential assent on the PIGB and will comply fully when it becomes law.

Meanwhile, stakeholders at the Symposium drawn from companies, governments, civil society and the media called for urgent measures to ensure that the PIGB passed by the National Assembly secures presidential assent while urging the National Assembly to accord similar accelerated hearing to the remaining Bills in order to comprehensively reform Nigeria’s petroleum industry.

They also advised all the relevant government institutions expected to be affected by the PIGB to put in place mechanisms for its speedy implementation if it becomes law.

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