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Delay in passage of PIB caused by multinationals - Belgore

By The Citizen

The delay in passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill has been attributed to the interference in the process by oil multinationals operating in the country.

A former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, said in Abuja on Wednesday that while in office, he was able to realise that intrusions by big oil corporations hampered the smooth passage of the bill.

Belgore, who is the Chairman, Governing Council of the International Institute for Petroleum, Energy Law and Policy, said though the multinationals were in Nigeria to make profit, they must allow the country benefit from its natural resources.

'I think it is interference by the multinationals that are in this business. I must point out that they have not come here to lose but to make profit. We should encourage them to make profit, but not to the disadvantage of the country. The country itself must make profit from its resources, including oil and gas,' he said.

Belgore explained that the passage of the bill would favour Nigerians and expressed the hope that it would be passed 'very soon', adding that instability in government had also contributed to the poor management of proceeds from oil and other mineral resources in the country.

He said, 'There is nothing better than stability in government. Since independent, we have been changing governments from time to time, and this has not been favourable. If there is stability, Nigeria would have been a different country and most people would have been employed, whether as self-employed or working for one organisation of the other.

'If the country were to be stable, we can go into other things that we can be able to process and export, and we have to use our resources properly. The idea of distributing our oil and pumping money into private pockets is not to the benefit of the people. I believe something can be done.

'If I were to be leader of a state, I will not always want to share the oil money; let me get my people to work. Nigeria is rich and we have abundant resources.'