The House of Representatives at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday, after over an hour of debate, passed for second reading the new Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB), transmitted to it by President Muhammadu Buhari in September, 2020.
Members of the House unanimously supported its passage after taking turns to contribute to the passage of the bill.
After almost two decades of its crafting in a bid to inject transparency and stimulate growth in the country’s oil industry, the legislation with the title ‘A Bill for an act to provide legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host community and for related matters, (HB.1061)’, amongst others passed second reading.
The bill amongst other highlights is proposing the establishment of Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission to be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations,”
While Leading the debate on its general principles, Leader of the House, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa called on the lawmakers to support the passage of the Bill.
Ado-Doguwa said, ”Permit me to take the House down memory lane. This was a bill that began in the 6th assembly. Unfortunately, this bill has not been able to see the light of day. Whatever controversies surrounded the bill, the bill is now before us. It is my hope that members will look at this bill, and ensure it’s passed.”
Also, the Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu, contributing in support of the Bill, said the Bill’s passage is long overdue.
Elumelu said, ”I rise to support that this PIB. The bill is long over due. The essence is to remove some uncertainties. The essence is to institutionalize the ease of doing business. If passed, the bill will institutionalize good governance and ease of doing business. It will attract investors if passed fast. Our 4 refineries are bad. That’s why we import from Niger when we are supposed to be giving to Niger. We should be giving Niger and not us importing from Niger. We need to pass this PIB as soon as possible.”
On his part, the Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Toby Okechukwu opines that the Bill, if passed will cure the fact that Nigeria imports petroleum products from Niger republic.
He said, ”I am for it. If Nigeria has four refineries that are not functioning, if the PIB will cure it, I am for it. If the opportunity we had in the 70s, 80s will come back, I am for it. If we pass the Electoral bill and also PIB, I will say that we have done a wonderful job. We should pay every attention to this bill. We should make sure that all the landmines that will come along the way should be jettisoned.”
“If we pass the Electoral bill and also PIB, I will say that we have done a wonderful job. We should pay every attention to this bill. We should make sure that all the landmines that will come along the way should be jettisoned”, he said.
Similarly, Rep. Nkem Abonta from (Abia PDP) said “PIB is one of the oldest bills I met in the national assembly. We are aware that this bill is having the survival of Nigeria. This bill will enhance further law.”
Also Rep. Babajimi Benson in his contribution urged his colleagues to pass the Bill without delay just as Rep. Nkem Abonta said PIB will enhance further law.
His words: ”PIB is one of the oldest bills I met in the national assembly. We are aware that this bill is having the survival of Nigeria. This bill will enhance further law.”
Others who spoke in favour of the bill included Reps. Sarkin-Ada, chairman, Committee on upstream, Rep. Jide Jimoh from Lagos, the Chief Whip of the House, Rep. Mohammed Monguno, deputy chief whip, Rep Nkiruka Onyejiocha, Rep. Victor Nwokolo, Rep.Henry Nwawuba and spokesman of the House, Rep. Benjamin Kalu.
The Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila while ruling on the passage of the bill, committed it to the Ad-hoc Committee on PIB which will be holding its slated its inaugural meeting today (Wednesday) for further legislative input.