Reactions have continued to trail President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to assent the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, since resurrected by Senate president, Bukola Saraki.
While some under the shadow of the presidency nod approvingly to Buhari’s refusal with the claim that the 10 percent for Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Agency, NPRA, is too much a demand, a large number of Nigerians in a consensus view, are canvassing for the bill to receive presidential assent.
Adding his voice to those of Industry analysts who are fighting and rooting for the bill, oil and gas expert, Meka Olowola, said the National Assembly has the option of using their veto power against the president’s decision. He said this during Monday’s Global Business Report on Arise TV.
Asked if the issues being raised by the presidency are material enough to derail the PIG bill, Olowola said, “I personally don’t think so. The president has the right to his opinion of what he thinks about the bill, but the truth of the matter is that these issues have been in the front burner for a while now but they are not material enough to be able to circumvent the assent that rose to give grant to the bill. The presidency had their representatives through out the process of debate, those issues had ample opportunities to be cleared. So, for this to come at this point in time, is totally uncalled for and it is very inimical to the progress that we are hoping to see and record in the oil sector, so that we can continue to attract the required investments to take the industry forward”
From speculations of others in and out of the social media, there’s the belief that Buhari’s refusal to sign is because he considers the NPRA a threat to the office of the petroleum minister. Since the agency would be run independently, government fears that they would lose their grip on revenue and there would be little or no use for NNPC.
The bill that has gone through first and second reading, committee stage, joint conference committee and now awaiting the final seal being president’s assent, was propounded during the Obasanjo government and Minister of Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu was one of those at the frontal.