President Muhammed Buhari (“President”), who also acts as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, responded to frustrations raised by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas on the lack of reform of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria (“Industry”). The President specifically responded to the concerns regarding the delays in passing the ‘Petroleum Industry Bill’, which has been split into the (i) Petroleum Industry Governance Bill; (ii) Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill; (iii) Petroleum Industry Administration Bill; and (iv) Petroleum Industry Host Community Bill (“Petroleum Bills”).
The President acknowledged that the passing of the Petroleum Bills has the potential of rectifying the lack of progress in the Industry and further confirmed the significance of reforming the same, stating that “reforming the petroleum industry will unlock numerous untapped potential for the nation”. Nevertheless, he emphasized that no reforms in the Industry will occur unless it can be guaranteed that the same were in the best interest of Nigerians.
The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, in reaction to the President’s response to the frustrations stated above, advised that further delays to the passage of the Petroleum Bills would only encourage more corruption in the Industry. In addition to this, the former group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Chambers Oyibo, weighed in on the President’s comments stating that the non-implementation of the Petroleum Bills has created an uncertain environment in the Industry, which has made the same unattractive for potential investors in the Industry.
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