Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), under the auspices of the Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) Nigeria, have launched a policy brief to interrogate the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021.
Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2021 into law.
The Petroleum Industry Act provides a legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host communities, and related matters.
The brief “Mainstreaming Fiscal Responsibility in the Petroleum Sector”, is the outcome of a study led by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative (OAI), a civic tech non-profit focused on bridging the gap between citizens and parliament.
The release of the brief was held in Abuja during the week and attracted the participation of stakeholders in the petroleum and public finance sectors, including the management of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), according to a statement issued by the CSOs.
Speaking at the event, Oke Epia, executive director of OAI, said the policy document interrogates fiscal responsibility and responsiveness of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021.
Victor Muruako, chairman of the FRC, represented by Charles Abana, head of legal and enforcement, commended OAI and the cluster for their collaboration with other partners with a laudable brief.
Muruako said the recommendations contained in the document would point the commission in the direction of how to mainstream fiscal responsibility in the petroleum sector.
According to him, “the prevalence of weak regulatory regimes has dire consequences on the fiscal health of the country, and ultimately, the standard of living of the Nigerian people”.
On his part, Henry Adigun, oil and gas governance consultant, in his review of the policy brief, made a case for better funding of the FRC to enable it to carry out its mandate in enforcing provisions on fiscal responsibility and macro-economic stability.
Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, executive secretary of NEITI, represented by Chris Ochonu, assistant director, advocacy and communications, said the release of the policy brief is a valuable addition to the literature on the petroleum industry reforms in the country.
Orji said further that NEITI is proud of the work OrderPaper does in the sector.
GIFT Nigeria Project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with technical support from the Palladium Group.
Members of the GIFT Nigeria cluster led by OAI are the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Hipcity Innovation Centre, and CLICE Foundation.