The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for assenting to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
President Buhari had, earlier on Monday, assented to the bill, which provides legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host communities, and related matters.
OPEC, in a letter, addressed to Buhari and signed by its Secretary-General, Mohammed Lamido Barkindo Monday night, said the new Petroleum Industry Act marked a significant milestone for Nigeria’s oil industry and a historic achievement for Buhari’s presidency.
“With the stroke of a pen, you have inaugurated a new era for the industry following years of legislative efforts to strengthen the legal, regulatory, fiscal, and governance framework of the petroleum sector.
“Indeed, the new law will enhance the Nigerian petroleum industry’s reputation, open the door to new investment, and ultimately strengthen its position to meet the world’s growing demand for energy,’’ Barkindo said.
The OPEC boss said the Act was timely as the investment outlook becomes clouded by efforts aimed at accelerating a lower-carbon future.
He said the new law would help harness Nigeria’s potential to achieve its programme of raising oil production to four million barrels per day and oil reserves to 40 billion barrels.
Investment boom for oil, gas industry
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said with presidential assent to PIB, Nigeria’s oil and gas industry would now witness more investments and transparency.
Gbajabiamila, in a statement by his media aide, Lanre Lasisi, said the Act was a landmark achievement that ended the two-decade-long journey of the PIB.
The Speaker said he was optimistic that with the Petroleum Industry Act, fuel prices would reduce as there would be competition among the industry players.
“As I said before, this is a landmark achievement. It has been 20 years in coming. This 9th Assembly will be recorded on the right side of history for this big score,” he said.
Gbajabiamila said the oil and gas industry would fare better with the Act and called on investors to take full advantage of the opportunities that the new law provided.
Major victory for Nigerians
The Senate has hailed the assent to the Bill as a major victory for Nigerians.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru, the Senate said the Act has the potential of bailing Nigeria out of its economic predicament and would enable the country to make the most of economic gains of the oil industry.
Basiru said the 9th National Assembly passed the PIB after working dispassionately by putting the interest of the nation first over petty squabbles and other self-interests.
He attributed the success to the cooperative efforts of all participating sectors in the process and the non-confrontational policy of the present National Assembly.
Basiru said the Act would juice up the national economy by liberalising the petroleum sector, which would pave the way for both local and international investors.
The Senate had passed the Bill on July 15, 2021, while the House of Representatives did the same on July 16.