President Goodluck Jonathan on has received the long awaited draft of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke presented the draft to the president before a number of senior government officials at the State House on Friday.
The new draft of the PIB is the end product of work done by several committees and task forces set up by Mrs Alison-Madueke.
Speaking to state house correspondents after the presentation Mrs Alison-Madueke noted that the technical teams have done their work and that the president and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) may also wish to have a say on the draft, before it is then sent to the National Assembly by the president.
The much awaited PIB is expected to enthrone more transparency in the oil industry.
Experts and technocrats have expressed worry about the declining fortunes of the Nigerian petroleum industry because of the non-passage of the PIB.
Most of the major oil companies in Nigeria are reported to have ceased to invest in the sector, waiting for clarity of the bill and how it would affect the industry because the PIB is an attempt to bring under one law, the various legislative, regulatory, and fiscal policies, instruments and institutions that govern the petroleum industry.
It aims to introduce new operational and fiscal terms for revenue management, to enable the Nigerian government retain a higher proportion of the revenues derived from operations in the petroleum industry.
The PIB is also expected to herald a new era of reform in the oil and gas industry that will instill transparency, establish and clarify the rules, procedures and institutions that will entrench good governance and accountability in the oil and gas sector. It is expected to facilitate a thriving industry and overall economy.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000 constituted the first Oil and Gas Reform Implementation Committee (OGIC) to recommend a policy for reforming the sector. The recommendations defined the need to separate the commercial institutions in the sector, from the regulatory and policy making institutions.
In 2007, the Yar’Adua administration reconstituted the OGIC under the chairmanship of Rilwan Lukman, to use the provisions of the National Oil and Gas Policy to setup legal, regulatory, and institutional structures for managing the oil and gas sector.
The Lukman Report, submitted in 2008, recommended regulatory and institutional frameworks that when implemented would guarantee greater transparency and accountability.
This report formed the basis for the first Petroleum Industry Bill (HB 159) that was submitted in 2008 as an Executive Bill.
But series of controversies raised by the bill prompted the constitution of a federal inter‐agency team, to review the Bill that is yet to see the light of the day before this administration came on board.