The refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) after a wait of almost two decades, has brought the issue of reforms in the oil sector of the economy into sharp focus and public scrutiny.

Coming at a time when expectations were high that after the prolonged pause of being stuck in the National Assembly the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was close to significant, albeit incremental fruition, the decision of the President was an anti-climax that has set the industry and indeed, the entire economy into fresh anxieties and uncertainties. While the justification for the denial of presidential assent could be plausible and germane, the implications are diverse and could be far-reaching.

The Nigerian system, regrettably, is supported by obsolete laws: Petroleum Act 1969; Petroleum Profits Tax Act 1959; Deep Offshore & Inland Basin (Production Sharing Contracts) Act, and Sundry ad hoc legislations However, other African countries are making giant strides in the quest to better regulate their oil industry and optimise the dividends from the industries.

For instance, there is the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act 2016 in Ghana; the Petroleum (Exploration, Development & Production) Act 2013 in Uganda; the Petroleum Act 2015 in Tanzania; and Petroleum Law (Law No. 21/2014) 2014 in Mozambique. This is aside reforms and legislative amendments in several other countries.

Source: The Guardian