As the dilemma on fuel pricing and subsidy lingers, the National Assembly has stated that full deregulation of the oil and gas industry is inevitable going by events in the global economy as well as the need to make the sector competitive.
The Chairman, the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Senator, Sabo Nakuru, said deregulation is inevitable and that it could happen immediately or take a natural course.
Meanwhile, the senator stated that the National Assembly is working to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), targeting this quarter.
He noted that with the new PIB coming up, NASS would visit all the refineries to have a feel of what the industry entails and what needs to be done.
Nakuru stated this during a facility tour of Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical plant by the NASS joint committee, saying: “On the PIB, we are doing everything within our power to lay it on the floor of the senate in the next one and half month. Give or take, we are looking at two months before we pass the PIB. We are working day and night and definitely, we are going to see it through.
“Deregulation is inevitable because it will eventually happen. Looking at the investment here, it is unbelievable that an individual can confront this kind of project in our current economic life. With this kind of edifice and the potentials apart from job creation, I am sure by the time this refinery comes on stream, even the Naira would be strengthened because we spend millions of dollars importing finished petroleum products and here we are in front of an entity that can supply the whole country’s requirements for finished petroleum products.
“It is a good omen for the Nigerian economy and we at the National Assembly are going to give all the necessary support because if we do not help this refinery to come on stream, then it means the Nigerian economy will experience doom.”
The Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on PIB and Chief Whip, House of Representatives, Mohammed Monguno, said the main purpose of introducing the PIB is to bring the oil and gas industry in tandem with international best practice while also making the industry more competitive to attract the much-needed investment
He said: “The world is moving away from oil and gas towards renewables and as such, there is need for us to maximise our potential that is yet to be exploited, particularly with crude that is lying fallow for the 10 to 20 years window that we have before the world moves away from crude and other fossil fuels.”
Also speaking, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Upstream, Senator Alfred Bassey, said there is no current challenge standing in the way of the PIB, saying both the legislature and the executive are on the same page this time around.
“This is the only way to go for our country. We want to make our industry competitive and I believe that what we have seen here is local content 100 per cent and for the first time we can tell the whole world that Nigeria can do it even better
The Chairman, Gas Senator James Manager said gas is the wealth of the future, pointing out that the PIB would take care of the numerous gas projects put in place by the federal government to deepen gas utilisation and commercialisation.
“We are taking everything holistically, the PIB, the comprehensive document that will bring all the industry and the laws guiding the implementation of the bill in one document and including the host community,” he said.