A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has called on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to close ranks and expedite the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to provide clarity and certainty that would attract the needed investment in the sector.
The group of 30 CSOs, which came under the aegis of Accountability in the Extractive Sector (AES) cluster, also urged the Federal Government to step up implementation of the reforms in the oil and gas sector, adding that this administration has committed to the implementation of reforms so as to enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency in the sector.
Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, who spoke on behalf of the coalition group in Abuja yesterday, said government’s failure to pass the PIB in December 2016 despite its “7 Big Wins” is yet to be accomplished in spite of budgeting N100 million for it in the 2017 budget.
Musa, represented by Senior Programme Officer, CISLAC, Kolawole Banwo, added that another N120 million is being proposed in the 2018 budget for the passage of the PIB even when there is not a sign of the Executive making any visible efforts toward the drafting of a bill.
According to him, the AES cluster observes with scepticism the intent behind the proposal to expend N610 million for the implementation of the 7 Big Wins, including N200 million for oil and gas reforms in 2018.
Musa said: “We lament that we are approaching the year 2018 and with elections already set for February 2019, leaving this government with practically six months of governance, it is becoming glaring that the 7 Big Wins may end up as another reform cloud that bears no rain.
“We call on the Ministry of Justice to expedite action on the needed framework that will ensure that the declaration of beneficial ownership becomes mandatory in line with Nigeria’s OGP commitments.”
“We call on the National Assembly to institutionalise the practice of debating the report of the NEITI in plenary and following through with effective oversight to ensure that its recommendations are implemented.
“We call on the governments of all oil-producing states to be prudent, open, transparent in the management of the 13 per cent derivation fund received from the Federation Account and devise an inclusive way of expending it for people-oriented development in their respective states.
“We call on the Federal Government to demonstrate political will to implement recommendations in NEITI reports as a way of complementing the expected gains of all the reforms in the oil and gas sector.”