Regardless of the controversies around the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), President Muhammadu Buhari has signed it into law.
According to a release by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President assented to the bill at home yesterday.
He said Buhari did this in his determination to fulfil his constitutional duty Adesina explained that the President was working from home due to his five-day quarantine as required by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 after returning from London on Friday August 13
He disclosed that the ceremonial part of the new legislation would 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 Senate had passed the Bill on July 15, 2021, while the House of Representatives did the same 24 hours later, thus ending a long wait since early 2000s, and notching another high for the Buhari administration.
It would be recalled that the passage of the PIB by the National Assembly has been roundly criticized by some stakeholders. With the signing of the controversial bill into law by Buhari, the retail price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol is to hit N300 per litre. The PIB is a legislation that has immediately outlawed fuel subsidy and the regulated price of N165 per litre, which the commondity is selling before the Presidential assent. Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and other key agencies in the Nigeria’s multi-billion dollars oil and gas industry are also at the tail end of their existence.
They will either be scrapped or change present form to a new one.The measure would also scrap the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, which used to distribute cash to keep nationwide petrol prices uniform, and transfer remaining money to a midstream gas infrastructure fund. In addition, it would create new regulatory bodies, scrapping the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and transferring to a new commission many of the tasks currently handled by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). Director Of Operations, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mike Osatuyi, who said that the signing of the bill to law was the best thing to have happened to Nigeria’s oil industry in decades, disclosed that the bill has outlawed fuel subsidy and tregulation of prices at the retail outlets.
With these, he added, the new price of petrol would be N300 per litre. “It is going to set us free from the jaws of exploiters both locally and internationally. It will bring more money to the coffers of Nigeria. It has immediately changed the chemistry of the industry. I want to congratulate all Nigerians that this is happening in our life time after the age long delay,” Osatuyi said.
The IPMAN chief continued: “Nigeria’s oil industry is for the better now. There will be transparency, there aill be accountability and there will be more investments. “Immediately the Preaudent signed the bill into law, the international price of crude will afffect the price of petroleum products but I can tell you that this will remove a lot of misconducts and corruption in the system.
“The pump price as at today will be N300 per litre based on many indices. That is the same price that diesel is also selling at the moment. “This happened in the telecoms sector when it all started but I can tell you that today, we are all better for it.” Harmonisation work of contradictory provisions in the bill was finalised penultimate week.
The bill privatised the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), amend changes to deepwater royalties made late 2019 and scrap PPPRA and other key regulatory agencies in favour of new bodies.
“The bill has finally gotten Presidential assent after the completion of an harmonisation at the National Assembly,” this newspaper gathered. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said wider opportunities have been opened to the oil and gas industry.
Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, who described the long awaited assent as a historic development in a statement on Monday in Abuja, said the new Law has ended decades of uncertainty concerning the future of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Orji who noted that NEITI was looking forward to playing active roles in designing a new future for the oil and gas industry under the new Petroleum Industry Act, added that the agency was hopeful it would check the huge revenue losses witnessed over the years due to lapses and weaknesses in previous laws governing operations in the sector, while restoring investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Also, the Senate commended Buhari for signing the Petr leum Industry Bill, (PIB), into law.
The Senate, in a statement by its Spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru, described the assent by President Muhammadu Buhari to the PIB as a major victory with the potential of bailing Nigeria out of its economic predicament.
Basiru also pointed out that the action of President Buhari would enable the country to make the most of economic gains of the oil industry for the benefit of Nigerians.
The lawmaker who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs Committee, congratulated the Executive arm of Government, the leadership and members of the National Assembly and all other stakeholders in the oil industry, for their roles in making the proposal to pass the PIB into law a reality.