Some stakeholders in the nation’s petroleum industry have blamed legislators for perpetuating corruption through their inability to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB into law.

BudgIT, Nigeria’s civic technology organisation, which raises the standards of transparency and accountability in public finance the PIB, was designed to check abuse, corruption as well as bring about orderly development of the industry.

For many decades, BudgIT explained, the industry had been characterized by lack of transparency in oil industry operations and management, noting that oil revenue receipts and management had been shrouded in much secrecy.

“Because transparency, due process and accountability were hardly of priority concerns in the past, large scale corruption thrived, exacerbating poverty and undermining the development process. These developments combined with other policy failures contributed to make most Nigerians poor despite being citizens of a country that is petroleum wealthy.”

It maintained that when President Goodluck Jonathan assumed office, the first thing he wanted to address was the corruption through deregulation of the downstream sector.

The group noted that the efforts were resisted, as Nigerians protested against the deregulation, saying that the huge amount of money spent on subsidy was not enough to reason deregulate the downstream sector.

A public affairs analyst, Mr. Austin Ibekwe, while reviewing the forensic report of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) on the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said: “The blame for the problems at the NNPC lies squarely with the National Assembly. The PIB laid before the Nigerian National Assembly is still strangely awaiting approval by the legislators after nearly eight years.

“The PIB clearly separates policy, regulation, and commercial activities that are currently bundled in NNPC, but the legislators refused to pass it. Nigeria needs to know why. If the PIB had been implemented by the National Assembly (NASS), many of the issues raised by the PwC report would have been taken care of years ago.

“The PIB may not be perfect. Legislation rarely is. But the PIB is much better than anything the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria has ever had. The outgoing 409 Representatives and Senators in the Nigerian National Assembly have been unable to pass the PIB for more than two years.

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A development consultant, Mr. Arubi Agama, who also noted that the recently released PWC report, just like those of the Aig- Imoukhuede-led committee, Nuhu Ribadu Committee, KPMG, NEITI and several others, said it highlighted the level of fraud and infractions not only in the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), but also in the petroleum industry.

“It will also enhance savings, creation of workplaces, industrial expansion in the oil and gas sector and the economy deepening. Those wishing to expand Nigeria’s participation in the sector through the creation of subsidiaries would, probably, never envisage the NNPC that would be unable to look after itself,” he added.

The Managing Partner of Ascension Consulting Services, Mr. Azeez Alatoye, admitted that the PIB would increase Federal Government’s take and reduce the returns on investment of the International Oil Companies (IOCs), thus ranking Nigeria one of the highest government take regimes in the world.

Source: National Mirror

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