Nigerian journalists have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider his stance on the Petroleum Industry Bills (PIB) in the interest of the nation’s oil and gas sector.
The Pen pushers clearly declared that the president’s none assenting to the bill would jeopardise Nigeria’s economic progression and reform policies as many foreign investors were likely to divert their business interests away from the country.
Rising from the one-day workshop on PIB organized for members of Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) from the Southern zone, the journalists maintained that speedy approval of the Bill would increase Nigeria’s competitiveness in the global energy market.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the one day workshop held at Ibom Hotel and Golf Resorts, Uyo in Akwa-Ibom state and signed by the union’s National President and Secretary respectively, Chris Isiguzo and Mallam Usman Leman, the media practitioners said the delay in the reform process would endanger the survival of the petroleum industry in the current ecology of the oil market.
Nigerian journalists in the communiqué further pointed out that, the economic abyss of Venezuela, a country with the highest proven reserves in the world was a telling example of the consequences of the lack of political will to conform to international best practices.
They also noted that the country risked the tendencies of falling into worst economy downturn if the policy makers failed to learn from Venezuela experience and change course immediately.
“President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) represents a setback to the buildup of momentum from 18 years of efforts to introduce policy reforms to the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector. We call on the President and the National Assembly to swiftly resolve the contentious issues raised about the Bill.
“Non-assent to the Bill has further thickened the atmosphere of uncertainty that is costing the sector trillions of naira in withheld and diverted foreign direct investments.
“The complacency that has informed the hesitation of key actors to embrace policy reforms stems from the erroneous belief that the reform can wait.
“The fall of Venezuela’s economy, the country with the highest proven reserves in the world, into an economic abyss is a telling example of the consequences of the lack of political will to conform to international best practices.
“Nigeria presently embodies most of the key endemic and structural dysfunctions that occasioned the devastation of Venezuela. If decision makers fail to learn from that nation’s experience and change course immediately, Nigeria risks the prospect of falling into similar ruin”.
Nigerian media practitioners however, urged the federal government and National Assembly (NASS) to expedite action on the passage of the three remaining components of the Bill would, emphasising that its outcome will guarantee “win-win gains” for the citizenry.
Stressing that no other sector has sufficient revenue generation capacity to drive the diversification of the the Nigerian economy, the journalists were also of the opinion that revenues generated from the oil sector is enough to diversify the economy.
“The reforms would pave way for the inflow of capital investment to stimulate our transition to a future without oil”.
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