PIGB: Withholding assent grave setback to oil sector reform - ANN.

President Buhari
One of Nigerian opposition political party, Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) has expressed displeasure over President Muhammadu Buhari's refusal to assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) as passed by the National Assembly in March 28, 2018, thereby throwing the petroleum industry reform into serious setback.

The party through its spokesman, Akinloye Oyeniyi, described the rejection as grave setback in the nation's mission to reform and open up her petroleum industry, just as he pleaded with the president to reconsider his stance.

Oyeniyi said "This is a grave one, a gross setback to a historical reform we conceived to liberalise the governance structure of our oil sector. PIGB is one of the four proposed bills in which the omnibus Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was broken into by the National Assembly to govern the most central sector of our nation, but look at what's happening because we have people at the helm of our affairs who should ordinarily not have business being there. 

"Apart from the Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Theresa May, saying we are poor, the recent World Bank data on share of population living under $1.9 a day, ranks Nigeria 4th in the world with 53% after Madagascar: 77.6%, DR Congo: 77.1%, and Uzbekistan: 62.1%; and second in Africa ahead of Kenya 42.8%, Angola: 30.1% and Ethiopia: 26.7%. 

Nigeria he said is also ranked ranked first with 92.1% leading in the share of population living at below $5.5 a day. "India records 86.8%, Ethiopia: 84.7%, Bangladesh: 84.5% etc. 

"Yet, we won't want to do what will take us out of poverty because of unpatriotic reasons," Oyeniyi lamented.

He said further: "The three grounds cited by the president are not close to parliamentary suitability while considering grounds of withholding assent by any president or a governor. But Buhari sent that fanstactic bill back to the National Assembly on those three grounds not compatible with altruistic concerns."

It is alleged that the president's reasons for withholding assent may have stemmed from the fact that if signed into law, the said bill would whittle down his power as minister of petroleum resources, just as the president had claimed that none of the ministers he consulted over it supported signing it into law; and that he did not see any fiscal content of the bill, even when the executive is aware a separate proposal, Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill (PIFB), is currently being considered by the lawmakers.

Akinloye also revealed that apart from the PIGB and PIFB, Petroleum Industry Administration Bill (PIAB) and the Petroleum Host Community Bill (PHCB) are other bills from the old PIB under parliamentary consideration.

Although Oyeniyi noted that the objection of the president may not be unconnected with proposed establishment of the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC) by merging the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to take over the regulatory powers of the minister of petroleum resources under the Petroleum and Pipelines Act, ANN however urges Mr. President to reconsider his stance by signing the bill, development that will not only save the nation the curse of the black gold and back-and-forth reform campaign, but a big plus to the poor image of the APC administration.
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