The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has charged the National Assembly and the Executive to re-visit and prioritize the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) into law in view of the multidimensional benefits of such legislative action for the economy.
In a statement issued by its Executive Director, Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), the civil society organisation recalled that the National Assembly had passed the PIGB and sent it to the president for assent but that the president withheld his assent to the Bill over some provisions in the bill he disagreed with.
It noted that the progress recorded so far in getting a law to regulate the oil and gas sector and deepen the reforms proposed by this administration had been a result of the initiative, proactiveness, doggedness and resilience of the two chambers of the NASS, which is quite commendable.
While calling on the NASS to also re-visit and prioritize the passage of the PIGB by addressing the genuine concerns of the president and re-sending it to him for assent as soon as possible, the civil society group also urged the President, through relevant channels to be proactive and liaise with the relevant committees of the NASS, through constructive dialogue, to ensure that a Bill that will adequately address the challenges in the sector, serve the interest of Nigerians and receive presidential assent is passed.
CISLAC expatiated further: “This is not only because the Bill is a baby of the NASS which should not be allowed to die, but because of the damage its non-passage continues to cause in the sector upon which the nation’s economy is most dependent and it feeds perfectly into the president’s avowed commitment to stamping out corruption in critical sectors of our national life and his aspiration to mobilize sufficient revenues to fund development, diversify the economy and implement his administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. This will distinguish this government from all previous ones which only paid lip service to the promotion of transparency and accountability in the extractive sector
“The millions being lost in revenue and investments and other positive multiplier effects accruable from the sector can be avoided though the passage and assent to the PIGB and all other components of the PIB. This is in the light of subsistent budget deficit, rising debt profile, wide infrastructural gaps and bleak future revenue profile from the sector.
“CISLAC also calls on the executive to engage with the NASS to expedite action on the outstanding components addressing fiscal frameworks, host and impacted communities and sector administration issues. This is so that they can become law before the elections in 2019”, it added.
It stated further that well-meaning stakeholders were optimistic that the present session of the NASS will conclude what they have started and contribute to supporting the executive so that this government can fulfil its promise to the Nigerian people as it relates to the passage of the PIB.
CISLAC charged all stakeholders not to relent until this became a reality even as it restated its commitment to sustaining the advocacy as its contribution to bequeathing to generations to come, a nation where resources from natural resources benefit all Nigerians.