30 September 2014, Abuja – The Senate President, David Mark, weekend stated that the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) will be passed into law before the 2015 elections.
He said Nigeria must as a matter of urgency pass the bill because oil companies are beginning to get worried, stressing that the situation might drive away investment in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Mark during a democratic transition lecture organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the PIB when passed, will update existing laws in the petroleum industry and also guarantee a win-win situation for oil companies and the Nigerian government.
According to him, Nigeria is on the loosing side as a result of the delay in the passage of the bill, maintaining that this is why the country must accelerate the passage of the bill into law.
“We want to pass the PIB before the end of this current senate. We need to pass the bill as soon as possible because the oil companies are getting worried. The PIB will update the existing laws in the petroleum industry to ensure a win- win situation for both the oil companies and the country at large,” he said.
He however stated that the theme of the forum tagged “Democratic Transition and the Nigeria Economy” is apt and timely, saying that with the elections approaching, there is a need to boost investors’ confidence by ensuring a smooth transition.
“We at the National Assembly, are conscious of the nexus between politics, governance and investment. All these are interrelated, mutually reinforcing and supportive,”he said.
The Senate president added that the political leadership needs a robust private sector to ensure social and economic stability.
He said most of the major sources of conflicts in many African countries is the quality of the electoral process, pointing out that for the electoral process to be successful, the quality of the electoral process must be credible.
He advised that whatever happens after the election, Nigeria must be able to promote the principles and values of freedom of choice, accountability and transparency, rule of law, protection of the rights of the minorities and citizen participation among others.
He reiterated the need for the private sector to work closely with the National Assembly to ensure the creation of an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He said the current level of interest by the private sector in legislative activities is not encouraging, stressing that representation of the private sector at public hearings is often very low, both in terms of number and quality.
He added that the National Assembly needs to be guided by the private sector on the kind of policies that are necessary to improve private sector productivity and capacity to create jobs.
“I therefore invite you to be more active in promoting this partnership between the private sector and the legislature. Indeed it is our desire to encourage participatory democracy,” he said.
He noted that the National Assembly is worried about the current security challenges in the country, especially in the North East, pointing out that apart from the security challenges for social instability, it also has far reaching economic implications.
“We do not underestimate the consequences of the festering insecurity in the nation. Accordingly, we are providing all necessary cooperation through appropriation, legislation and partnership with the Executive in the fight against insurgency and terrorism. I am confident that we can end this sad and unfortunate chapter in our contemporary history as quickly as possible,” he stated.
Also speaking at the event, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Kormawa said Nigeria must build institutions in the country to support democracy.
He stressed that without the dividends of democracy, Nigeria cannot achieve prosperity and also advised that the nation must continue on the path of economic transformation to solve its economic challenges.
“Nigeria has achieved 10 years of uninterrupted growth of 7 per cent but looking at the magnitude of unemployment particularly among the youths, Nigeria must double that growth,” he said.
In his words, “Growth alone cannot lead to economic transformation. We need to support institutions that will help the country grow economically.”
He said developed countries across the globe have used industrialisation to move their largest population out of poverty, stressing that without investment, support and sustainable policy to boost industrialisation, the continent will remain where it is for a long time.
The president, LCCI, Alhaji Remi Bello said the full dividend of democracy may not have been realised, but stressed that there are clear indications that as a nation, Nigeria is on a sustainable democratic track.
The LCCI boss added that the stability of Nigeria’s democracy has earned the country a great deal of respect in the comity of nations and had also attracted investors to the country.
He stressed the need to boost investors’ confidence, advising that investors need to be assured that the approaching elections would be free and fair; assured that the major institutions of state managing the electoral process will not be partisan.
“These are very critical elements necessary for the sustenance of investors’ confidence at this time. These are the concerns that informed the choice of the theme of our discussion,” he said.
He pointed out that a strong economy driven by the private sector is imperative for wealth creation, employment generation and stable democracy.
~ This Day