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Stop borrowing, sign PIGB, experts to Buhari

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Oil and Gas experts have warned of the grave implications of continuous borrowing by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, insisting that approving the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB was the only way to stop foreign and domestic loans and debts
They also warned that Nigeria was headed towards the Venezuelan way, if it does not immediately sign the PIGB that will bring integrity, good governance, good deeds and for once, engender trust and harmonious relationship between the federal government, International oil companies and the Host communities in the oil and gas sector.

At a round table on content development for oil and gas sector reforms organised by Facility for Oil Sector Transformation, Foster, for parliamentary correspondents, it was uncovered that the Nigerian oil reserves were fast depleting with production capacities declining. Worse -off for the country, is her increasing debt profiles which is partly attributed to the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to give out licenses and oil blocs for investors to begin to work and rake in enough revenue in foreign exchange to settle the debts
The experts disclosed that as much as $1billion can be raked in as revenue per block for signature bonuses.
“Federal government still has not done Licensing rounds: Just to sign and pay, yet we are borrowing day-in day-out , when we have sources of revenue’ Mr. Joseph Nwakwue, lamented in his paper to the workshop, titled; ” reforming the Nigerian Oil and Gas sector for survival.”
He noted that what was required of government now was to bid out the blocks and allow market forces to determine who gets want instead of holding onto bureaucracies and political considerations.
According to him, it was only the oil industry that can pull the country out of the current economic mess because the current debt position is unsustainable, “only oil can help”.
Continuing, Nwakwue argued that except all the versions of the PIGB, is devoid of tribal, ethnic and political sentiments and urgently passed into law by the National Assembly members and signed by President Muhammad Buhari, the Federal government in truth has lost touch with oil, revealing also that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, would have been liquidated long ago because it has been running deficit in the last three years and depending on the state for survival.

“Nigeria is broke, we have projects but no money: NNPC is borrowing, it has so many projects but no money to utilize”, he said.
Speaker to speaker lamented the worrying situation the oil and gas sector is becoming and according to Israel Aye and Henry Adigun, who spoke in the same vein, regretted that the country neglected her only single foreign exchange earner.
“Nigeria so negligent about her single foreign exchange earner we are one resource country,” the experts noted.
They warned that it was only the PIGB that will remedy the challenging Nigerian oil and gas sector
According Mr. Aye, who delivered a paper, titled, “Petroleum Industry reforms (opportunity cost of not passing relevant Petroleum Industry bills into law)”, the Bill ought to replace old laws and drive new sector reforms while Adigun, team leader, who gave a general overview of the sector, warned that until the PIGB is passed, the country is likely not to get new investors.
Mr. Aye warned that Venezuela with over 279 billion barrels reserve has plunged into economic crisis and until Nigeria does the needful now; it may be heading the same way.
He revealed that Norway has over $1trillion of oil revenue in its sovereign wealth fund, whereas Nigeria was blowing the little it saved uncontrollably. He admonished that as a resource that will finish one day, the only legacy for such endowment is to use oil for infrastructural development and sovereign wealth fund.
Earlier, coordinator of the workshop and head contact group, Foster, Michael Uzoigwe, reiterated the need for advocacy for oil and gas reforms in country.

He challenged the media to do more in this direction.
“We need more media advocacy on what is expected for the oil industry, ” Uzoigwe added.

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