The petroleum industry bill was initiated in 2008. Since then, the bill has undergone so many debates. The past presidents refused to assent to it because of the problems associated with it. This time, President Mohammadu Buhari decided to assent to it in spite of the problems. On August 16, 2021, he signed the petroleum industry bill into law. Today, the Nigerian petroleum industry is governed and regulated by the bill.
The bill has five chapters. It also has eight schedules and thirty-nine sections. This petroleum industry bill is more of a governance bill for the Nigerian petroleum industry. It covers everything that is needed to be done in Nigeria concerning petroleum.Petroleum Industry Bill analysis
By the 2021 petroleum industry bill, the petroleum industry is now to be governed by two agencies. The Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority is responsible for oil and gas exploration activities in the midstream and downstream sectors. The Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission will now oversee whatever goes on in the upstream section of the petroleum industry.
The main objectives of the petroleum industry bill include the following:
- Good governance of the petroleum industry
- Effective accountability in the petroleum industry
- Commercialization of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)
- Conducive environment for petroleum operations in NigeriaInformation Guide Nigeria
- Host communities forfeit the cost of vandalised facilities in their communities
- Transparency in the petroleum industry
- The two governing boards have clear and separate roles
- People’s ability to sue the regulatory boards and be sued in the law court
Nigerians’ Expectations from the Petroleum Industry Bill
Nigerians should expect the following from the 2021 petroleum industry bill:
Accountability in the Petroleum Industry
The lawmakers took their time in selecting members of the petroleum industry governing boards. People who are on the governing boards, from the chairperson to the least member, are all reputable Nigerians. They are people who have served in various sectors.
They are people who should be accountable to Nigerians. They know what Nigerians have been passing through in the petroleum industry. They are people who are capable of correcting all anomalies in the petroleum industry. They are people who cannot let Nigerians down because of money.
By the provisions of the bill, Nigerians should expect the creation of local refineries. Nigerians will no longer depend on foreigners in refining their petroleum products. Already, the bill has commercialized NNPC. With this commercialization, Nigerians can now invest in the petroleum industry.WAEC Result
It all depends on Nigerians. This is not the government now. This is individualistic. If Nigerians want the petroleum industry to succeed, it all depends on them. If they want Nigerians to breathe a sigh of relief, it is all in their hands. Investors should know how much Nigerians have suffered in the purchase of petroleum products.
Let what is happening in the electricity generation sector not happen in the petroleum industry. The commercialization of electricity generation in Nigeria has not shown any difference from what it had been. People seem to suffer more now than before as far as electricity provision is concerned.
Let Nigerians invest in the petroleum industry and bring relief to Nigerians. They should relieve Nigerians from the high price of commodities resulting from the high cost of transportation. When petrol becomes cheap, transportation will be lowered and prices will come down.
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Nigerians should expect court cases to arise from the implementation of the bill. The host communities are not happy. Their grievances should be settled in court instead of violence. Violence will only make things worse. The bill has a provision for suing the boards and being sued.
Thus, all the problems that will arise from the implementation of the bill will be settled in a court of law. People would like to claim their rights. This will result in a peaceful resolution of the problems. Provided that the judiciary will be ready to give the right interpretation to the bill and be fair in their judgement.
Decline in National Revenue
Nigeria’s revenue comes from the petroleum industry. The provision of the bill that 30% of the profits that NNPC generates should be used for frontier exploration will decrease the total revenue that ought to accrue to the federal government. Recall that it is what the federal government generates that it shares among the states. Therefore, the states will now get less allocation than they had been getting before the bill.
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Nigerians should expect opposition from the host communities. The host communities are not happy with the 3% that the bill has given to them. The inclusion of the places that oil pipelines pass through as host communities is confusing. This clause will definitely generate opposition.
The Pan Niger Delta Forum has already filed a rejection of the 3% that is in the bill. This proves that they are ready to oppose the bill if the reversal they are calling for is not granted to them. They are not happy that the bill rejected the 10% they demanded but granted 30% to the north for doing nothing. These clauses will definitely trigger opposition.
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Nigerians should begin to expect a future that will be without oil. OPEC has already projected that petroleum will be valueless in twenty years’ time. New technologies are taking the place of petroleum. Any time from now, fossil fuels will no longer be attractive.
Of course, you know that the world has started to produce cars that do not use fuel. Solar energy resources are now thriving all over the world. Nigerians should learn this and stop hoping for oil and gas. Climate change is another thing that is threatening the petroleum industry worldwide.Npower Recruitment
Though the bill sees its provision for a conducive petroleum exploration environment, the oppositions that are bound to arise from the bill may not dictate that. With petroleum being discovered in other parts of West Africa, people may not be interested in Nigerian oil and gas. It is high time Nigerians start preparing for alternative resources.
A Federal Government Laden with Problems
The lawmakers passed the bill when they are about to leave office. To them, they have done Nigerians proud. To some Nigerians, they have only left problems for the incoming government. Thus, Nigerians should expect the incoming lawmakers and the executive to revisit the bill and address the parts that are generating problems.
The Pan Niger Delta Forum is calling for the reversal of the 3% that the bill has given to the host communities. That can only happen by revisiting the bill. Definitely, many Nigerians have questions to ask concerning the bill. The incoming government should be ready to answer all the questions.
A Divided House
The debate on the bill before its passage was very hot. Some lawmakers agreed with what the bill is saying whereas others did not agree. Some of the southern lawmakers saw the bill to be highly favourable to the north to the detriment of the south. This brought a division among them.JAMB Form
This dichotomy between the northern lawmakers and the southern lawmakers will continue in the incoming government. In one of his statements, one of the Northern NNPC Group Managing Directors said that the bill favours the north more than the south. This proves that some of the northerners will admit the truth in the bill. This will bring division in the house if the right thing is not done.
Efficient Implementation of the Bill
Nigerians should expect efficient implementation of the bill. The people who are on the boards are efficient people. They will like to make sure that they implement the bill to the letter. They will not like to leave any stone unturned.
An Overhaul of the Petroleum Industry
The bill will now replace that of the Oil and Gas Industry of 1969. It will also replace the NNPC Decree of 1997. The objectives of the bill cover everything imaginable about the Nigerian Petroleum Industry. It tries to restructure the petroleum industry.JAMB Result
This general overhaul of the petroleum industry will likely bring expected good to Nigerians. Nigerians have always looked to a better Nigeria. They wish their suffering would end someday. Perhaps, this bill will bring to an end their suffering. May God help the boards to do their best for Nigerians.
In conclusion, Nigeria is in transition. The better days are yet to come. As we all try to solve our problems one after the other, one day, we shall arrive at our desired destination.
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