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Business News of Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Source: tribuneonlineng.com

PIA will promote transparency in petroleum industry - MINILS DG

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The signing of the much-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill into law by President Muhammadu Buhari has been described as “a singular historic transformational legislation in public corporate governance” since the return of the country to democracy in 1999.

Director-General/CEO of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Comrade Issa Aremu, made this observation in Ilorin, recently, during the opening section of a three-day in plant strategic leadership skills workshop for trade unionists drawn from Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) across the nation.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, on August 16, 2021, signed the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 into law following the passage of the bill by both the 9th Senate and the House of Representatives earlier in July 2021.

While he noted that the subsisting law regulating the petroleum industry was passed in 1969, the Director-General of the Labour Institute said that it was the commitment and focus of President Muhammadu Buhari that had made the enactment of the legislative framework a reality, despite outstanding challenges associated with the new law.

According to Comrade Aremu, the new Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 (PIA) has introduced “timely pertinent changes to the governance, administrative, regulatory and fiscal framework of the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, adding that PIA would promote transparency, strengthen the governing institutions and attract investment capital, and create new jobs”.

He went on to describe as “healthy” the current controversies over the perceived imperfections of the new law with respect to the host community’s take and Frontier Exploration Fund, adding that any developmentalist law is “legislative work in progress”.

He added, “It’s good to jaw-jaw on development and transformation, which PIA law represents than the unhelpful shouting of discordant voices over divisions and violence of no value. President Buhari has commendably changed the national narrative in the positive direction of development by signing PIB into law.”

The Director-General noted that the signing of PIA on the eve of the 60th anniversary of independence assumes special importance because according to him, PIA “would moderate the unacceptable dominance of the petroleum industry by the international oil companies (IOCs) and make Nigeria and Nigerians dictate the pace and pattern of the development of the industry according to the objectives of the new National Development Agenda 2050.

“If we add the recent bold move to reactivate Port Harcourt Refinery, landmark 2019 historic assent to the bill amending the Deep Offshore (and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract) Act which commendably balanced the corporate greed in oil and gas sector with urgent national needs in terms of revenue, posterity would record that President Buhari is championing petroleum sector development renaissance after decades of neglect,” Aremu said.

On critical labour issues associated with the new Petroleum law, Comrade Aremu called for “a just transition” for a gradual sector reform such “that companies operating in the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry comply with all international labour conventions ratified by Nigeria; the collective agreements with the labour unions and the extant labour laws as a minimum in all their dealings with the Nigerian workers and their representatives,” he said.