The Petroleum Industry Bill is very important

Posted by Oseloka Obaze | 24 April 2013 | 3,815 times

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The PIB is very important Bill that has vast implications and infinite possibilities for our nation and peoples. Consequently, in its final and adopted form it must, in it’s entirety be germane to our collective interest. The Bill must also reflect our collective ownership and take cognizance of the nexus between legislative theory and the realities on the ground.

This public hearing exercise is fruitful, as it allows for states to make vital input into the PIB.  We are confident that the leadership of the National Assembly will show sagacity in taking into account all views – even dissenting opinions. As you are aware, the draft PIB is a huge document, hence we run the risk that the devil will be embedded in the details. That is our concern and why this exercise is most welcome.

Having studied the draft bill, Anambra State as the 10th Oil Producing State in the nation has very few but vital observations. We are gratified that our concerns are commonly shared by some states of the South-East, South-South and South-West geographical zones. We wish to prevail on this august Committee to look critically and amend sections – 2, 116, 117, 118 and 293 of the draft PIB.

These sections pertain to:

“Control of entire property and petroleum resources”; “establishment of the Petroleum Host Community Fund” and “Duty to Restore the Environment”. They also relate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Our collective goal is to make Nigerians feel a sense of ownership of the petroleum resources nature has endowed on us. Hence, the PIB must be in tandem with our Constitution. It must be based on fairness and justice and must recognize the needs and rights of host and oil producing communities.

More fundamental, is the need for companies in the oil sector to have clear Community Reinvestment Initiatives (CRI) in keeping with their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR).

May I use this medium to state our unalloyed support of the Frontier Exploration provisions of the PIB. We also appeal to the Federal authorities to assist Anambra State in developing its large natural gas deposits.  The Natural Liquefied Gas (LNG) industry is capital intensive, so only a partnership between the government and private sector investors will bring its full development to fruition.

That said I wish to reiterate the confidence of the Anambra State in your esteemed Committee to give Nigerians a PIB they will be proud of and subscribe to fully.

•Being excerpts of the remarks by Hon. Oseloka H. Obaze (shown in photo), Secretary to the State Government, Anambra, at the Public Hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee in Enugu on April 22-23, 2013.

Source: News Express

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