By Ajogwu Jerry
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) says it is disappointed at President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to assent to the Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB) transmitted to him by the National Assembly.
In a statement signed by CISLAC executive director Musa Auwal, the group said Buhari should re-consider his decision, calling it a “huge failure”.
The statement reads in part :
“If the government were serious about addressing corruption in oil and gas sector an executive Bill ought to have been sent to the National Assembly early in the life of this administration but this was not done.
“We note that it took the NASS, taking the initiative though a private member Bill to get the legislation to its current status only for assent to be withheld by the president.
“We are aware that throughout the legislative process, relevant agencies and stakeholders had the opportunity to make input into the Bill during the public hearing and other channels. It is therefore shocking that after all the efforts, time and cost incurred in the passage of the Bill, we are back to where we were as a nation 12 years ago.
“CISLAC finds it worrisome that in spite of the established losses the nation incurs due to the absence of this law, which among other sources, the NEITI put at $200 billion yearly and another $15 billion yearly in fresh investments, the President did not consider it a matter of national importance to assent to the Bill.
It said was frustrating that the Buhari government has spent its tenure without properly addressing the oil sector where “corruption, inefficiency, community conflict and sabotage have been institutionalized”.
“We find the reasons related to continued membership of the OPEC a pretext and another effort at subjecting national interest to the expectations of external forces at the expense of national wealth and prosperity.
“We note that the refusal to assent to this Bill can become a dis-incentive and excuse for the NASS to discontinue with the efforts to pass the other outstanding components of the PIB which bothers on fiscal frameworks, community participation and sector administration,” CISLAC said.