Delta Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Monday said Nigeria’s oil industry had lost substantial investments due to delay in the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Okowa stated this when he received on courtesy visit, the Co-Chairman, National Assembly Joint Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, Rt. Hon. Mohammed Monguno and members of the committee at Government House, Asaba.
He said that investments in the nation’s oil industry would be up-scaled as soon as the Bill was passed.
He disclosed that the people of Niger Delta were gladdened to hear of the renewed commitment of federal lawmakers towards passing of the PIB.
The governor expressed delight with the inclusion of Host Communities Fund in the Bill, saying that the provision of the fund would make the people part-owners of the ventures and encourage them to secure oil facilities.
He acknowledged that the committee members were in the state “for a very important assignment, something that we have not been able to achieve as a county in the last 14 years.
“You have come obviously for a very important assignment, something that we have not been able to achieve as a county in the last 14 years.
“We are gladdened as people from the Niger Delta to hear both leaderships of the National Assembly speak about their commitment towards passing the PIB.
“If you do achieve it, your name will be definitely written in gold because for too long we have been talking about this bill and we are already endangering the oil industry.
“People are agitated towards the direction of the PIB and when there is an anticipation and action is not clearly taken, it leads to the loss of investment opportunities because people are worried about the direction of the industry.
“There is no doubt that oil exploration has kept our economy but over time it has caused so much pain to our people and this bill is geared towards addressing some of those pains.
He said “people have lost their lives, lost their source of living and the pain continues to increase on daily basis, but we thank God that the dark days are over and there is an amnesty programme even though it is not being run as it was proposed by the Yar’ Adua’s administration.
“I am glad that there is this commitment on the part of the leadership of the National Assembly and we will be proud of you if you are able to achieve the passage this time around.
“We hope that with the provision of the host communities fund, it will impact in their lives and help them to live a sustainable life.” Okowa stated.
Earlier, Monguno who is the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, said his team was in Delta in furtherance of the legislative processes leading to the passage of the PIB.
He said that the National Assembly was working closely with the Executive arm and other stakeholders to ensure the passage of the Bill.
“We have promised Nigerians that by the end of April we will pass this all-important bill.
“We are committed this time around to pass the bill for the good of Nigeria.
“There is need for us as a country to reform the oil and gas sector, especially as the world is moving away from fossil fuel to renewable energy and it is important we take advantage of the opportunities available,” Monguno said.