July 16, 2024
ES NCDMB Warns Against Tinkering with the Petroleum Industry Act
Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote
– By Godswill Odiong

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The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote has advised that making unending changes to the structures set up by Petroleum Industry Act 2021 could kill the confidence of investors and stall new projects in the oil and gas sector.

Speaking on Tuesday at a panel session at the recently concluded Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja, the Executive Secretary explained that the PIA 2021 contains adequate provisions to ignite growth in the energy sector and advised the Federal Government and key stakeholders to avoid the temptation of tweaking the law at every turn.

He hinted that “policy somersaults kill the confidence of investors. Once a nation or economic sector is known for trial-and-error initiatives, it makes the investors adopt a wait-and-see attitude or move on to other entities.”

While acknowledging the need to seek areas of improvement, he cautioned that “it is injurious to the investment climate if we are in a perpetual state of policy modifications or amendment of laws that we are yet to even progress to full implementation.

Wabote remarked that it took the Nigerian oil and gas industry almost two decades to pass the PIA, during which time many stakeholders of the industry blamed the lack of passage of thethen Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as the reason for the lack of investment in the oil and gas industry.

He charged players of the industry to complete ongoing projects and deploy the provisions of the PIA to simulate the necessary growth in the energy sector.

Dwelling on ideas that would ignite the growth of the industry, the Executive Secretary recommended timely decisions on lingering issues on divestments, assignments and acquisitions, bid rounds, inter-agency collaborations, sanctity of contracts, and others.

He also canvassed for the speedy completion of the Dangote Refinery project and the delivery of products into the economy.

Speaking further, he listed the Presidential Power Initiative in partnership with Siemens and the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries as ignition points for growth, stressing need to get them across the finish line. “The construction of the 615km AKK Pipeline is an ignition point for growth, we need to keep at it till completion, otherwise, it remains a pipe dream,” he added.

The Executive Secretary also harped on the need to set Local Content practice as a National Agenda to address recurring dislocations in the economy. He recalled that Presidential Executive Order 003 requires that MDAs must give preference to made-in-Nigeria brands in eight products. He pointed out that the implementation has been abandoned in public procurement. He insisted that the successes recorded in the practice of Nigerian Content in the oil and gas industry needed to be replicated and sustained across other sectors of our economy to promote local manufacturing and productivity.

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