Buhari Can Reform Petroleum Sector Without PIB, Says Garuba

Despite the failure of the 7th National Assembly to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, the new government of President Mohammadu Buhari could still reform the oil and gas sector without the law, Dauda Garuba of Natural Resource Governance Institute, has said.

Garuba told Daily Independent in Abuja that though a lot of hope was placed on the passage of the PIB, the country can no longer continue to move in circle.

Garuba who was particularly disappointment in the huge waste of resources and effort in trying to pass the bill, noted that the gas sessions of the bill should be pursued independently.

According to him, the last minute passage of the Bill by the House of Representatives alone was very disappointing.

His words:  “We all know that one of the chambers of the National Assembly will not get the PIB passed into law except both chambers approve of it.

“And that is where the critical issue comes up as what was the whole effort about by the House of Representatives if eventually the Senate was not going to pass it and was going to be harmonised to become a law.

He however expressed the hope that the new All Progressive Congress (APC) government would keep its promise of getting the bill passed within a year.

“With recent statement by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources that they were going to revive some sections of the PIB and take it back. If that is real, then one can say that there is hope that APC will pass it within one year.

“With the manner the first and second PIB have suffered at NASS we can begin to ask ourselves, are there no things we can do even without the PIB to reform the oil and gas sector? Do we necessarily need the PIB after the money and effort that have been wasted this long.

“I had to go to Lagos to address the House committee on the PIB on host communities and environmental issues, the question is, is worth it starting the whole process again and again?

“Are there no other means of addressing the rot in oil and gas industry even without the PIB. Is it not possible to take a look at these bits and pieces of the 16 laws that were put together to form the PIB and amend them individually?

“Whether we like it or not gas is a hanging fruit issue because everybody needs gas at home and government has a policy to drive domestic gas use. So, rather than put this up together with the PIB, is it not possible to quickly pursue the gas bill and make money from gas”.

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