The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) sector, Senator Magnus Abe, has revealed that the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB) was as a result of divergent interests in the bill.
Abe, who denied that the Petroleum Industry Bill is not being politicized, said that various interest of various stakeholders need to be considered before the passage of the bill.
The Petroleum Industry Bill has suffered series of setbacks since it failed to pass in the last National Assembly.
Its was however reintroduced in the current National Assembly in 2011, but still has been passed owing to vested interests.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, Thursday, the Committee Chairman refuted claims that the committees are not taking the bill serious, explaining that the joint committee members have met with the consultant of the bill and will soon deal with it.
“I don’t think the PIB is being politicized as you know , PIB is very voluminous bill. It is a bill that is dealing with structure of oil industry in this country as you know, Nigeria is about oil and anything that has to do with it is of interest to everybody in this country.
“So that’s shows you the level of interest in PIB. So in that atmosphere there are different sections of the bill that is of particular interest to different sector of the economy and the economy you know .
“There are Some sections of the bill that concerns oil majors that is there own interest in the bill. There are sections of the bill that of interest to oil bearing communities, there some sections of the bill that is of interest to some of our brothers in the North that has do with exploration of hydrocarbon that is there own interest in the bill.
“So every interest group is focusing on particular thing that is of interest to them in the bill, but they are hundreds of section in the bill that nobody is concerned about.
“There are other sections of the bill that are equally important. The management of the industry, nobody is even interested in it, nobody is looking, nobody is contesting. So I think only challenge facing us politically is how to manage these different interests that everyone goes away with something and Nigeria becomes better for all of us.
“That is what we need to do and that is what we are working on, so I don’t think anybody is opposed to PIB, I think people have interest in different sections of the bill that affects them, but I think most people in this country believe that it is an important bill that this bill is reviewed so that oil industry can move forward and lastly let me say that to me what is important about PIB is not really what it contains but it is whether we are passing it or we are not if we are passing PIB, we need to do that quickly so that the industry can plan and make progress.
“If we are passing PIB, we also need to do that quickly so that the industry can also plan and make progress because there is uncertainty in the industry that is the biggest challenge the country is facing, these oil majors have interest in other parts of the world where the rules are clear.
“If they have money to invest and your own rule is not clear, they don’t know what will happen in Nigeria next year or year after, they will take their money to Angola and invest and if they have already invest in a project in Angola by the time you finish passing your own law to clarify your own issue, the money may no longer be there.
” For the purpose of this country, we need to decide if we are changing the law, what is the new law, if you are not changing the law let everybody knows that this the law that remains so that people can go to plan and move forward that is what is critical.”