Financial expert says delay in PIB passage affecting foreign investment

NEWS DIGEST – Due to the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Nigeria has suffered a loss of over $30 billion investments in the oil and gas sector, a financial expert, Mr Pedro Omontuemhen, says.

The financial don who is a Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, on Monday revealed this at the Pre-Conference Workshop held ahead of the 38th Annual International Conference of the

National Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE). The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the workshop was : ” Levers for Optimal Cost Reduction in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Production: Positioning for the New Normal.”

He said that the PIB, currently before the National Assembly as an Executive Bill, had suffered delay for almost 20 years, which had led to uncertainties in the petroleum industry.

“Investment in the oil and gas sector has reduced and Nigeria has lost about $30 billion investments due to the uncertainties in the regulatory environment.

“As a country, we need to urgently pass the PIB into law so that we can attract Foreign Direct Investment to the oil and gas industry, ” Omontuemhen said.

He, however warned that the PIB would face challenges despite the assurance given by the legislature and the executive on its quick passage.
According to him, opposition to the bill may likely come from Niger Delta governors who have expressed dissatisfaction with the alleged freedom given to Zamfara State to manage its Gold resources.

Also, Mr Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, said the COVID-19 pandemic had made it imperative for the oil and gas companies to develop innovative ways of survival.

Brown said these include reduction in cost of crude oil production to $10 per barrel, capital efficiency, utilisation of technology and strategic partnership among companies.

He also called on the government to look for further ways of supporting indigenous companies in the sector and create a conducive operating environment.

Earlier, Mr Alex Tarka, President, NAPE, said the Nigerian economy lost billions of dollars to the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and crash in the price of crude oil.

Tarka said Nigeria should therefore brace up for the impact of the second wave of Coronavirus on its economy as some countries had introduced fresh lockdown measures to contain the disease.