Former Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr. Osten Olorunsola, monday disclosed that the version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) he was appointed to review and rewrite as chairman of a special committee set up to review the bill by the immediate past government of former president Goodluck Jonathan, was not what was presented to Jonathan.
Olorunsola stated in Abuja that the final outcome of the work of the review team he headed on the PIB was altered before it was presented to Jonathan. He explained that when the bill was presented to the former president, he saw lots of changes and that these changes were not part of the work he submitted. “What my team worked on was not what was presented to the president. What I said was it was not what was submitted to the National Assembly. “As at the point of submission to the National Assembly there were lots of alterations and I could see those alterations because I had what we did and it was in the public domain,” Olorunsola said at a national petroleum and power policy forum organised by the Emerald Energy Institute of the University of Port Harcourt. Olorunsola headed the technical team on PIB which was set up by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to look into the bill, review it’s content and draft a workable version for passage by the National Assembly.
He spoke alongside other industry experts including former Company Secretary, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Yinka Omorogbe, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Emerald Energy Resources Limited, Dr. Jude Amaefule. Collectively, they blamed the lack of political will on the part of Jonathan’s administration for the failure of the seventh National Assembly to pass the PIB. Continuing on the PIB that was submitted for passage, Olorunsola said: “But I know it went and some clauses were reworked or amended by the National Assembly, unfortunately we have not seen what the House of Representatives claimed to have passed. But again that water has passed under bridge and the whole process has to start all over.”
While holding that about 80 per cent of the bill content was good, he said that disagreements over few items delayed its passage. He also agreed that much work has been done on the bill and could be passed by the current National Assembly within a year if the right people are consulted. “A lot of the investors were asking for improved fiscals which was understandable because they want more and more. But the question is how competitive it is. If Nigeria feels it is comfortable enough, then I think we should just go with it. What you do not want is to have a set of fiscals that drives investments away because if it drives investments away then the ultimate aim of expanding the industry and using the proceeds to expand the non-oil sector is completely defeated,” he explained.
According to him: “There were also some political issues like the host community fund which was also a very contentious issue. The third one, is how to package the pursuance of the frontier basins in the North.” “Some people were asking for full institutionalisation, while others were asking that it be placed under other institutions. But what I am saying is that there is a lot more good side to the bill than all these little things,” he added.
… Culled from ThisDay