The long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be presented to the general house of the senate tomorrow for considerations, according to the president of the senate, Ahmed Lawan.
The non passage of the over 20 years 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.
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 said the chamber would “commence passage” of the bill on Thursday.
“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.
But the House has not updated its timeline for considering the bill, and sources told Reuters the chamber could be a bigger obstacle to quick passage.
There are pending demands for big changes to the bill, including from community leaders seeking an increased share of revenue.
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.