The Senate has finally confirmed receipt of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) after conflicting news about its transmittal by the executive.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, while speaking at plenary on Tuesday confirmed receipt of the bill, saying “the PIB has been conveyed to the Senate for consideration.”
Bringing everyone to speed on efforts so far, He informed the Lawmakers who had just returned from recess, that the Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and Gas had preliminary engagements with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, to discuss the critical piece of legislation.
During a meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Timipre Silva, and NNPC GMD, Mr Mele Kyari which held Monday, the leadership of the National Assembly assured that the 9th Assembly will break the jinx which has prevented passage of the PIB after several attempts.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila assured Nigerians during the meeting, that “the time had come for the passage of the bill.”
The meeting was essentially to brief the National Assembly leaders on the focus of the PIB which the Senate President confirmed was forwarded to the Assembly about two weeks ago, but said it has not been read at the floor of either Chambers of the National Assembly because the federal Lawmakers had been on recess.
“The PIB is said to be jinx actually for a long time, probably from 2007 to 2019,” Lawan said. “It’s either the bill or bills were sponsored by the Executive and not passed by the Legislature as was the case in 2007, 2011 in the 6th and 7th Assembly.
“In the 8th Assembly, the Legislature sponsored the bill, breaking it down to about three, it passed but there was no assent. Now the bill is an executive bill coming to the National Assembly, we want to see an oil industry in Nigeria that is properly regulated, an oil industry that not only sustains the investment that we have but attract even more investment, an oil industry that is very competitive.
“So, the 9th Assembly wants to work with you, have a very clear understanding of every provision so that, at the end of the day, we will break that jinx together with you and provide the oil industry a legislation that will make it more effective and efficient,” Lawan told oil sector stakeholders.
Also Speaking in the same vein, Gbajabiamila expressed confidence that the 9th National Assembly will break the jinx and pass the bill speedily.
“We will pass this Bill speedily; however, we will not sacrifice thoroughness on the altar of speed. In the House of Representatives, we have assembled a crack team of legislators who are versed in the workings of the industry. It is an Ad-hoc Committee drawn from the House Committees on oil, upstream, downstream, local content and gas, to work on the bill as we are all trying to go to the same destination,” he said.
He described the bill as perhaps the most important piece of legislation that will come out from National Assembly in the lifetime of this government.