Senate Begins Clause By Clause Consideration Of PIB

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CBN

 

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Olusola Bello

 

The chamber of the senate will begin the clause by  clause  consideration  of the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) today with the hope that the  bill  would soon be passed into law, so as to pave the way for the necessary overhaul of the oil and gas  industry.

While the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, says the house will work hard to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before embarking on recess in two weeks.

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan had given a directive on Tuesday that the bill should be made available to all senators for them to start considering the bill today.

The non passage of the over 20 year’s bill is considered as one of the major problem the oil and gas industry is facing in the country. The bill from inception has been a victim of political intrigues among both the politicians and industry operators.

Investment into the oil and gas sector has been stalled thereby denying the country the much desired investment and job creations.

The executive secretary of the Nigeria Content Development Board, Simbi Wabote, said the delay in the passage of the bill has affected the operations of the agency as regards the kind of  jobs and investment that would have been created.

President Muhammadu Buhari sent the bill to the National Assembly in September last year. The senate package is the result of months of consultations between national assembly members and oil companies, local communities and other stakeholders.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan had stated on Tuesday said the chamber would “commence passage” of the bill on Thursday, which is today.

“Every senator must have a copy today,” Lawan said. “We would be considering the report on Thursday

The bill aims to modernise Nigeria’s petroleum industry and attract a shrinking pool of global fossil fuel investment dollars. Observers had hoped the political alignment of the presidency and the National Assembly would break a cycle of failure that has stalked overhaul efforts for 20 years

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, says the house will work hard to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before embarking on recess in two weeks.

Gbajabiamila also made the announcement at plenary on Tuesday, said the Electoral Amendment Bill and the 2021 Supplementary Appropriation Bill (budget) would also be passed within same period.

He announced that the leadership of the house would meet with the House Committee on PIB on Tuesday, June 29.

“We have two weeks and we have landmark bills to pass like the PIB, Electoral Amendment Bill and 2021 Supplementary Budget.

“We must do this work before we go on recess and we must do it thoroughly,” he said.

This week, national assembly leaders from northern Nigeria pressed for a greater share of oil revenue for “frontier” communities where there is petroleum exploration. Meetings with key leaders continued into Monday evening without resolution, and a failure to reach a deal with those leaders could scupper passage before the summer recess, pushing its earliest approval to September.

Professor Wumi Iledara, a former President of  Nigeria  Association of Energy Economics, had advised that the he would rather have a good bill than not having a bill at all. He said the current bill is not perfect but it is good enough to start after 20 years of attempting.

He said there are three important chapters which are well known to people. One of these chapters, he said, are chapters on governance which is to help the country solve the amorphous governance process that we are in . It is going separate policy from regulations and from commercial.

According to him, the only bone of contention that is there is the reason why the PIB was not signed originally. He said there are some that wanted two regulatory institutions while there are some that believe that one regulatory agency is enough for what we have in Nigeria. Especially when things are evolving and innovation is important

“The only caveat is the ministry of Energy, as far as I am concerned, the technical capability is there to allow for continuity. So the ministry of Petroleum must be reorganized to make sure that they separate technical from administration. When it comes to administration of leases, The idea is to move away from discretionary award of oil block. This must be avoided, do not give room for discretionary award of oil block,” he said.

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