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NAPE urges govt to shun opposition to PIB passage

By on March 21, 2011

NIGERIAN Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) has called on the Federal Government to ignore every opposition to the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill to avoid further delay.

The association made this call at its monthly technical meeting with the theme: “New Marin Node Technology-The Next Generation in Sea Floor Seismic”, delivered by Dr. Chris Walker.

There were indications recently that the much sought passage of the PIB by the National Assembly was delayed owing to threats by organised labour, which sought the bill’s amendment with a view to including workers’ welfare in the law.

Another obstacle to the passage of the PIB had also been linked to the pressure mounted on the Senate to do so by members of the public and civil society groups.

The bill was on last week Tuesday, listed as the first for the day on the order paper, but Senators, in reaction to protests by some groups at the National Assembly and several text messages sent to them, refused to take the bill.

A group of protesters stormed the National Assembly on the said Tuesday morning, blocking the entrance to the complex and kept the lawmakers out of the chambers for several hours.

The President of the Senate,  David Mark, said that the pressure by the groups would not aid the passage of the bill.

Reacting to the current development on the PIB, President of NAPE, Mr. Jide Ojo urged the government to be bold enough to pass the current version as soon as possible to encourage investment in the sector.

He said:  “The national content law has been passed and is being implemented successfully.  For the PIB, we do not even know how many of the versions we have in hand.  Let’s pass the bill in one form or the other.  There is no way we can have a perfect document.  Lets be bold enough to pass this PIB in one version and once we pass it, we can start implementing it and move on from there.  Let not give people the impression that we have reason to delay the passage of this bill.

“We have all agreed that it is necessary to have it and it would help to change the face of the industry and also help to support capacity building, we are talking about.  So why are we hesitating to pass the bill?”

He also emphasized the need for capacity building in the sector to speed up the Federal Government’s target of more oil discoveries and lessen the Nigeria’s economic dependence on importation.

He added: “When we talk about national content and capacity building, we must understand that we are talking about something that requires commitment on the part of those who we regard as custodians of the technology we are looking for. To deploy the technology in the Nigerian environment requires a lot of finance.  We are talking about convincing investors not to go somewhere else.  But, when we have the challenge of infrastructure, legislation, banking and communication, it is difficult for investors to come into the country.”

Source : Guardian