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‘It’s courageous’ — NEITI commends n’assembly for passing PIB

Ogbonnaya Orji, executive secretary of NEITI, Ogbonnaya Orji, executive secretary of NEITI,
Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya, NEITI director of communications

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has commended the national assembly for passing the petroleum industry bill (PIB).

On Thursday, the two chambers passed the PIB — a bill seeking to bring governance issues in the oil and gas sector in tandem with the international best practices.

In a statement in Abuja shortly after the NASS decision, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, executive secretary of NEITI, described the eventual passage as bold, courageous and progressive.

According to him, “NEITI as an agency set up to enthrone transparency and accountability in the management of extractive industries in Nigeria has demonstrated genuine and legitimate interest in the PIB from the onset.”

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He recalled that as an anti-corruption agency in the sector, NEITI boldly alerted the nation through a special Policy Brief “The urgency of a new petroleum sector law”.

He said the policy brief stated that the current stagnation of investment opportunities in the petroleum industry was as a result of the absence of a new law for the sector.

“This has led to huge revenue losses to the tune of over $200billion,” the policy document added.

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“In that publication which was widely circulated, NEITI argued that the “revenue losses were as a result of investments withheld or diverted by investors” to other (more predictable) jurisdictions.”

“The publication added that “The hedging by investors stems from the expectation that the old rules would no longer apply, but not knowing when the new ones would materialise.”

The NEITI boss expressed optimism that with the new governance law for the industry, the huge revenue losses to the nation will be eliminated.

“The implementation of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative which Nigeria is a key signatory has over the years been frustrated by the absence of a dynamic law that suits modern business modules and trends in the ever-evolving oil and gas industry”.

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Orji hopes that the PIB will re-position the petroleum industry for competition, openness, accountability, professionalism and better profit returns on investments companies and government.

He added that NEITI and its multi-stakeholders are encouraged that the national assembly acted in the overall public interest.

“While NEITI awaits early harmonisation and the details of the contents of the bill as passed and hoping for early presidential consideration and assent, the transparency agency looks forward to working with its stakeholders in the industry to ensure effective implementation under the global EITI framework.”

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