By Emeka Okafor
Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, on Monday, said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will be passed before the end of June, 2021 by the National Assembly.
PIB, which is targeted to open up the nation’s oil and gas industry, has spent twenty years on the floor of both chambers
Lawan said the Senate and the House of Representatives are almost done with the final scripts of the bill.
The Senate President spoke on Monday at the opening of the 2021 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) holding in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He explained that the joint committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives could not turned in their report for passage in May owning to the volume of the report, stressing that the bill will be passed this month.
According to him, “We want to be very fair in listening to everyone but one different approach that has been able to bring us where we are today in the PIB processing is that we decided right from the beginning that the solo effort in 2007/2008 by the then Executive Arm of government by bringing to the National Assembly the PIB, which at the of the day the National Assembly could not pass.
“In our legislative agenda for 2019-2023 in the 9th Assembly we decided that we must have a better way. Neither the solo effort of the Executive nor the solo effort of the legislature could deliver the PIB, we better have a cooperative approach where the National Assembly will work with the administration to conceive the Bill through very rigorous consultation and the end of the day we narrowed down our differences and areas of potential conflicts.
“I think we have been able to achieve that significantly. The speed and commitment the National Assembly has shown in working on the PIB and reaching where we are today shows that we have chosen the right path.
“As I speak, our joint committee of both Senate and the House on the PIB are about to conclude writing the report which will be submitted to both chambers of the National Assembly. Our expectation is that we will pass the PIB within this month of June by the grace of God”.
YOU MAY ALSO READ: Buhari Pays Tribute To Prophet TB Joshua, Says Cleric Will Be Missed
Also speaking in the same vein, Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, noted that the bill when passed will accommodate all shades of interests including those of foreigners and locals doing business in the country.
He assured operators and stakeholders that the PIB as presently conceived is not intended to drive anyone out of business, noting that rather the National Assemble is working to promote operation in the sector.
“We are expected to encourage business whether foreign or local or community based. But as competing interests juggle and try to elbow each other out.
“It is the role of the National Assembly to look for balancing act, bearing in mind that the most important interest for us is that national interest and it is that our national interest that we have that we will look at while considering other competing interests to strike a very delicate balance in this industry”, Gbajabiamila added.