Mohammadu Buhari, the president’s decision to decline assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) has been described as a very disheartening setback on efforts to actualize policy reforms in the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector initiated about two decades ago.
A cross section of journalists from the print, broadcast and online media organizations across Nigeria stated this at a roundtable in Enugu, during which the state of the Petroleum Industry Bills was discussed.
In a 10-point communique issued at the end of the deliberation, the forum stated that the president’s decline of assent to the PIGB was a missed opportunity to advance a token of the commitment of the Nigerian government to modernizing the architecture of Nigerian petroleum laws
It further observed that Buhari’s decline of assent to the bills signals to prospective investors and industry players absence of the political will on the part of the Nigerian government to change the fundamentals of the landscape of the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector.
This, the forum said, will inevitably escalate the trend of loss in withheld and diverted capital investments which is plaguing the sector.
The communique read in part:
“Nigerian journalists have a responsibility to deploy their skills and platforms towards pressurizing all key actors to take the urgent actions needed to reposition the Petroleum Industry in order to benefit all stakeholders and guarantee sustainable business environment;
“Nigerian journalists can be the game changers in this seemingly intractable reform process. They are well positioned to make exert influence on the general public and the critical mass of key actors.
“It is possible to mount an inclusive advocacy campaign that will rally all Nigerians around the win-win positives of the Petroleum Industry Bills;
“Going forward, we will accord the Petroleum Industry Bills the priority attention they deserve in our reportage..”