‘Poor regulatory framework in oil, gas sector affecting FDI inflow’ 

A gas flare burns at the Batan flow station operated by Chevron under a joint-venture arrangement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the onshore and offshore assets in the Niger Delta region on March 26, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

The lax and inefficient nature of regulatory framework in oil and gas sector in Nigeria, may continue to affect the inflow of foreign direct investment unless government takes urgent action.

The Managing Partner, The Chancery Associates, Emeka Okwuosa, who spoke with The Guardian in Abuja, Tuesday, insisted that the development of the industry would remain stagnant if efforts are not made to address the situation.

“The regulatory framework in Nigeria’s Oil and gas sector is lax and ineffective and needs to be strengthened and enforced,” Okwuosa said.

According to him, while the oil and gas industry is very crucial to Nigeria’s economy, the regulatory framework is in need of structural and institutional changes for the country to achieve projected goals.

He noted that government must not continue to play the role of a regulator and a player in the sector.

“Also, a major impediment in the regulatory framework is the lack of political will by the regulatory agencies to enforce the laws and regulations in the oil and gas sector.

“Suffice it to say that the effective and efficient enforcement of the regulatory framework by the government and its regulatory agencies will be a panacea to the inherent weakness in the present regulatory regime in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. 

“Under the new PIB, all laws, statutes and regulations will be consolidated into one document/statute to ensure that information become more accessible and provide the much needed clarity to all stakeholders.”

Okwuosa also advised the Federal Government to work very hard to strengthen due process in the oil and gas sector, the essence of petroleum industry bill, tender and procurement process aimed at trying to solve corruption and block all the holes and leakages, which significantly improve transparency.

He decried that the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), are still opaque, and reiterated the need to strengthen transparency initiative in the country’s extractive sector.

While calling for openness, transparency and accountability, Okwuosa said: “One big problem with NNPC is that its operations are opaque.”

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