PIA Act designed for money, contracts sharing, says Agbakoba

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr Olisa Agbakoba, has said the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act were designed for money and contract sharing and not the country’s development.

He also challenged politicians and other stakeholders to highlight one successful commercialised or privatised government entity in Nigeria.

He alleged that privatized Nigerian-owned entities are for the benefit of a few individuals rather than the entire Nigerians.

Explaining his stance against the Petroleum Industry Act while featuring on Arise TV’s Morning Show on Thursday, the legal luminary insisted that the PIA was designed for revenue sharing for the benefit of a few individuals.

He said, “The big question is if the PIA is such a fantastic bill, why are we having fuel scarcity that I first experienced in 1972. Why is it continuing? So something is wrong. There was a misconception and I regret I was part of the misconception that commercialisation necessary means efficiency, it doesn’t.”

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According to him, China does not commercialise anything, China runs state capitalism. Saudi Arabia and Aramco also run state capitalism.

Agbakoba said, “So, I personally retract what I felt initially that commercialisation and privatisation are vehicles of development, they are not in so far as Nigeria is concerned.

“Because I will challenge anybody to show me one successful privatised entity since this started in 2000. What has happened is that the state enterprises have been privatised into private pockets of individuals. Nothing has come to Nigerians as specified in Section 14 and we remain very poor. Poverty is everywhere to the point… we must be careful about food riots.

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“How can Section 64 of the PIA appropriate our federal revenue to the NNPCL? Section 64 (of PIA) allows the NNPCL to draw money outside Section 62 of the Constitution that says all resources, whether taxed or not taxed shall be paid into the federation account. But section 64 of the PIA, a lower law to the Constitution enables the NNPCL to draw out money and you want me to support it?”

The former Nigerian Bar Association president added, “Now, what I see in this thing (PIA) is the usual ‘chop chop’ and contract sharing. PIA is designed to be a sharing thing. I am positing that the surrender of our national resources to IOCs in the context of production-sharing contracts or joint ventures contradicts the meaning of my sovereignty given to me in Section 14. What did the IOC come here to do? It is just to make money. So, the joint ventures enable the IOCs to take their own share and the government to take its own share.

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“Neither the government nor the IOCs have developed Nigeria. So, I am saying we should move from contract oil which is all about sharing and nothing about development. There is not a word in the PIA apart from the host communities that talk about the people of Nigeria. So, how can that be a bill or a law that is for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians? So, that’s my general concept on why the PIA should go.”

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