By Juliet Ukanwosu
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2021 into law.
This comes after nearly two decades of Nigeria trying to reform its oil sector law, a delay that has caused the country loss of billions of dollars in investment. The bill has passed from administration to administration, with the 8th NASS succeeding in passing it, but it failed to get presidential assent.
On July 15th 2012, the 9th NASS passed the bill and working from home in five days quarantine as required by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 after returning from London, President Buhari assented to the Bill on Monday August 16th.
According to a statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, the ceremonial part of the new legislation will be done on Wednesday, after the days of mandatory isolation would have been fulfilled.
The Petroleum Industry Act provides legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host communities, and related matters.
The PIB being signed into law by president Buhari
Extractive 360 reports that the PIB consists of five distinct chapters which include Governance and Institutions; Administration; Host Communities Development; Petroleum Industry Fiscal Framework; and Miscellaneous Provisions comprising 319 clauses and 8 schedules.
By becoming a law, it would strengthen accountability and transparency of the proposed NNPC limited as a full-fledged company under statutory/regulatory oversight with better returns to its shareholders – the Nigerian people.
It would provide for the exploration and development of frontier basins to take advantage of the foreseeable threats to the funding of fossil fuel projects across the world due to speedy shift to alternative energy sources.
The Act will also establish the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission to provide technical regulatory functions that would enforce, administer and implement laws, regulations and policies relating to upstream petroleum operations as well as the establishment of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
The Act also provides that 3percent be paid as contribution to the host community development fund, from profits of projects located within the specific host communities. Although this clause was faced with controversy as lawmakers and stakeholders from the South-South part of the country have fought to ensure that the stake is increased to 5percent without success.