President, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) Mr Alex Tarka, has blamed delay in the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) for the stunted growth of exploration activities in the oil and gas sector.

Tarka made this known at Virtual workshop on Leveraging fiscal regulations to attract Investments in the Petroleum sector, on Thursday.

He restated the need for implementation of policies that could help drive the much desired investments and stimulus in the upstream oil and gas sector for employment generation and economic growth.

Minister of State for petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had on July 14, announced that the PIB would be sent to the National Assembly, in two weeks times, even as the law makers said they were expecting the new PIB soon for deliberations and debate to begin.

But according to the NAPE boss, there is need for aggressive exploration in the country noting that the new fiscal policy of the PIB must reduce government participation to enable investors participate.

He noted that presently, only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been involved in oil and gas exploration in the country. This, he said, was not good for the sector given the role oil and gas sector plays in the economic development of the country.

NAPE president noted that government must ensure that it stuck to the date proposed in the presentation of the PIB to the National Assembly and ensure its speedy passage.

“Nigerian government’s failure to approve the PIB, has stalled investment in the exploration of oil and gas industry in the country as only the NNPC is operating; this is not good for the industry. “The industry especially the upstream needs a lot of palliatives, waivers and stimulus to operators to enable them sustain employment. “We need government to put policies in place to get thing done properly,’’ he noted.

Tarka further noted that the delay in passing PIB had driven away many investors to the sector adding that its quick passage would show the seriousness of Nigerian government in developing the sector.

“Exploration is expensive, especially here, so as an investor, if I don’t see any seriousness in the government to show how safe my investment will be, I will keep it elsewhere. “Until PIB is passed, investors will continue to look elsewhere to invest So, there is no better time than now to rob minds on this issue and get the bill passed,’’ he added.

 

Source: The Sun

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