Oil producers, host communities pick holes in PIB provisions, Senate assures speedy passage

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Conflict of interests from various stakeholders took the centre stage Monday at the public hearing held on provisions of the Petroleum Industry Bill 2020 by Senate Committees on Petroleum Downstream, Upstream and Gas.

But the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan , who declared the session open, assured of speedy passage of the bill, precisely in April this year.

First to kick against some provisions of the bill were oil producers who in submissions made by their chairman, Mike Sangster, faulted Hydrocarbon Tax introduced in the bill,

in addition to the already existing company Income Tax (CIT).

The oil producers also faulted the bill for allegedly not preserving the terms of existing investments.

They said: “Oil Producers Trade Section ( OPTS) , recognises the government ‘s right to change laws.

” However, to maintain Nigeria’s reputation amongst investors, it is important for the PIB to explicitly preserve base businesses and rights for existing Joint Venture Licenses and leases and Production Sharing Contracts , which form the basis for future growth.

“Operators should be allowed to retain the entirety of their lease areas and new terms should apply only to new contracts, licenses and leases.”

This, they added, will give investors the opportunity to consider the new terms prior to making Investment decisions.

“We hope that this long – standing will be upheld in the PIB,” they stressed.

OPTS however welcome the bill if required amendments are effected in some of its provisions.

It said the bill will provide the required competitiveness in the oil sector which will save the country billions of dollars being lost to high cost of doing business.

The bill was however strongly recomnended for expeditious consideration and passage by the National Assembly by both the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and the Group Managing Director ( GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) , Mele Kyari .

Kyari in his submission said: “Passing the PIB will make our environment more competitive, compare to where we are 20 years ago. It will make us more competitive.”

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