The Federal Government on Tuesday said Nigeria lost an estimated $235bn worth of investments in the oil and gas sector for delaying the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill by about two decades.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said findings also showed that the country lost about $15bn annually during the period of the prolonged delay.

The PIB became an Act (Petroleum Industry Act) on August 16, 2021 after the President, Major Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) gave assent to the bill, making it a law for the oil sector.

In his virtual address at the Nigerian Gas Association 2021 Business Forum and Annual General Meeting, Sylva, who was represented by his Technical Adviser on Gas Business and Policy Implementation, Justice Derefaka, said the delay stifled Nigeria’s petroleum industry.

The theme of the forum was, “Petroleum Industry Act: Progress and Opportunities in The Decade of Gas.”

The minister said, “A report by Financial Derivatives Company Limited indicated that Nigeria’s oil and gas industry lost as much as $15bn in investments annually due to the delayed passage of the PIB.

“Corroborating the above, the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter stressed that the delays, through different administrations, in enacting the PIB have cost the country an estimated $235bn worth of investments in the petroleum industry due to stagnation, sluggishness and uncertainty as a result of the absence of the PIA.”

He, however, noted the new Act had marked the end of decades of inaction, ambiguity, indecision, and under-investment in Nigeria’s petroleum industry.

“This lack of progress has idled the growth of the industry and the prosperity of our economy,” Sylva stated.