President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the three new Petroleum Industry Bills (PIB) being considered by the Senate would boost Nigeria’s economic growth and engender more efficient oil sector.
Saraki, who stated this while declaring open a three-day public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) organised by Senate Joint Committee on PIB, said the bills would also make the oil sector globally competitive.
The bills are Petroleum Industry Administration Bill 2018; Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill 2018 and Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Bill 2018.
Saraki added that as laws, the bills would have tremendous impact on the economy and investments.
“The Bill creates a framework that will free up acreages that are not being developed by current licence and lease holders, thereby creating opportunities for new investors.
“This will bring substantial new investment to our oil and gas industry.
“Secondly, it ensures effective management of the environment by petroleum operators and administrators.
“Thirdly, it provides a framework to unleash midstream activities which will open up the market for the supply of gas and other downstream products, for economic growth.
“Above all, I believe the most important feature of this Bill is that it provides the much-needed legal backing for the deregulation of our downstream petroleum sector,” he said.
The president of the senate also said that Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill would fix the anomalies in the nation’s existing fiscal framework for the petroleum industry, which was outdated, especially with regard to royalty and tax regimes.
“Billions of dollars, for instance, have been lost through non-invocation of provisions in subsisting laws, at those times when crude oil price crossed certain thresholds.
“The Bill will fix this as well as remove difficulties and uncertainties surrounding our tax assessment and collection system.
“Additionally, it will remove distortions created by the Associated Gas Framework Agreement, and provide comprehensive fiscal terms for the development of our abundant natural gas resources.
“Perhaps, the most critical objective of the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill is that it will enhance our international competitiveness and make Nigeria a choice destination for oil and gas investors,” he said.
The Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Bill, according to him, provides legal framework for the development of the petroleum host and impacted communities.
Saraki said “it is a pan-Nigeria Bill that will cater for communities that are hosts to upstream assets as well as significant midstream and downstream assets and infrastructure.
“The Bill is unique because it overcomes the pitfalls of past efforts, and is structured to bring funding for the development of host communities under the direct control of the communities themselves.
“We expect the Bill to make for greater harmony and partnership among the various stakeholders in the sector.
“I urge everyone to pay particular attention to presentations by representatives of host communities.”
He further stated that the bills were critical to the growth of the nation’s economy, the livelihood of all Nigerians and the interests of investors.
“We have the task of delivering these bills which, together, will enhance the growth of our oil and gas industry, modernise our fiscal system and enhance competitiveness, while creating harmony for all stakeholders,” he explained.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Kabiru Marafa, said earlier that the public-hearing marked another milestone in revamping the legal base for the administration, taxation and host community empowerment.
He said that those were needed to drive a win-win and inclusive growth which was essential to JumpStart sustainable value creation.
He added that the bills when passed and assented to, “will enable our dear country to regain competitiveness, investment influx and peaceful co-existence with host communities.”