PIB’ll be fine-tuned, Sen Bassey assures stakeholders

The chairman of the Cross River state caucus in the National Assembly, Senator Gershom Bassey, has said there was no cause for alarm over the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as passed by the Senate, saying that although the bill is far from being perfect, it would be fine-tuned to meet future realities.

Recall that the Southern Governors Forum had, in its meeting on Monday, July 5, rejected the version of PIB passed by the National Assembly which proposed 3 percent share of oil revenue and 30 percent share of oil profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins, but Bassey, in a chat with Journalists in Calabar, said PIB would continue to be perfected with usage.

He commended the National Assembly for achieving the feat after 15-20 years of trial and noted that “The PIB is a living document. The bill is not perfect, but as we go along, it will be fine-tuned.”

When asked to comment on the proposed 3 percent share of oil revenue and the 30 percent frontier production fund, rejected by the Southern Governors, PANDEF and other stakeholders, Senator Bassey, who represents Cross River South Senatorial District in the Senate, said “Five percent is what we all requested.

“You heard the Deputy Senate President on the floor, in fact he said five percent and a little bit more. So we hope that when they go to conference that we will go with the House of Representatives recommendation of five percent.

“If you are asking my opinion on host community benefit, I think they should increase the amount going to host communities because it’s only fair. Despite all the arguments on investments and so on, I think that investments can still carry five percent as passed by the House of Representatives at least.

“On the frontier exploration, what we managed to achieve in the bill was to define frontier to cover the entire country and not just certain parts of the country. So for me in Calabar, frontier covers the Calabar basin and we need to have in Cross River State exploration going on in our state. So that’s my own take.

“So far as frontier funding is applied evenly across the country in all the basins, Dahomey basin, the Cross River basin, Chad basin and so on, we can have a level of fairness and equity in frontier exploration.

“It could be better; the PIB as passed encourages more inflows into the country through the Oil & Gas sector. These types of inflows in exploration and production are things that will benefit us in the south because for the past fifteen years, there has been minimal investment in the oil and gas industry.

“There has only been one bid round and the bid round was not very successful, and we have had bid rounds in the marginal fields, which has not been realizable and these are all directly attributable to an unpredictable oil and gas environment.

“What the PIB does is to bring predictability to the oil and gas environment and with predictability, comes investments. So ultimately, it may not be a perfect bill, and I don’t think it’s a perfect bill but it is a bill that we can work with to ensure that there’s investments in the oil and gas industry.”

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