Benin City: The Edo State Government is rallying stakeholders in the oil and gas industry for effective implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), calling for increased collaboration to ensure sustainable peace and development in the state.

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, at a one-day oil and gas stakeholders’ meeting organized by the Edo State Ministry of Mining, Oil and Gas, in Benin City, said with diligent implementation of the new law, the state will be able attract more investment into the sector.

Obaseki, represented by the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Hon. Monday Osaigbovo, said the forum with the theme, “Effective Implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA): A Strategic Tool for Sustainable Peace Among Stakeholders,” is aimed at fostering peace and enhancing collaboration between the government, oil and gas-producing communities and other stakeholders.

He said, “The oil and gas sector, till date, is the mainstream of the Nigerian economy and as such, there is need to revalue its contributions to our communities and the state and one such reevaluation is the implementation of the PIA.

“The objective of the forum is to present opportunities to participants to freely discuss ways to strengthen the process of PIA implementation.

“This will foster sustainable prosperity, provide direct and economic benefits for the host communities as well as enhance peaceful and harmonious coexistence between the communities and oil and gas companies.”

“We believe that to continue attracting investments, we must enshrine peace among the people and improve the general security of lives and property within the state by working closely with all the various traditional and community stakeholders,” the governor added.

Obaseki further restated his government’s commitment to enhancing the lives of residents in the various communities in the three oil and gas producing local governments, including Orhionmwon, Ikpoba Okha and Ovia North East.

He said, “The Edo State Government, in line with the provision of the law, set up the Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC) which has been providing both opportunities for human development and provision of basic amenities that have no doubt improved the standard of living of the residents of these communities.”

In his opening remarks, the Commissioner for Mining, Oil and Gas, Ethan Osazee Uzamere stated that the state has begun the implementation of the PIA, adding that the ministry is at the forefront of the implementation of the Act.

“The Act seeks to promote the ease of doing business in the oil and gas industry, regulating the midstream and downstream sector, as well as making clear the roles of all players in the sector, provide for fast approvals of licences to investors, remove bureaucratic bottlenecks, end fuel importation and the subsidies involved in it, strengthen the value of the Naira and create job opportunities in the petroleum value chain, among others.”

On his part, the representative of the Oba of Benin and the Esere of Benin, Chief Stanley Obamwonyi enjoined the host communities to avail themselves to the platform made available by the provision of the Act and work in partnership with the state government to bring the desired development and growth that the administration strives to achieve.