The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has assured Nigerians that the 8th Senate, particularly the House of Representatives, would ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Reform Bills.
Dogara made the disclosure while declaring open a public hearing on Petroleum Industry Reform Bills at the National Assembly on Tuesday.
He said despite the setbacks, the Bills have faced in previous National Assemblies, the House prioritises the completion of the oil and gas industry reform as it is one of its cardinal legislative objectives.
The Speaker, while expressing concern over the failure of the 6th and 7th National Assemblies to conclude legislative consideration of the PIB, said, “This, in my opinion, was as a result of insufficient consultations, weak ownership of the Bill, absence of requisite political will as well as the extremely divergent and competing views of the government and other major stakeholders on the provisions of the Bill.
“However, at the National Assembly, the most important set back was that the PIB was difficult to handle by the relevant committees because it was a massive and complex document that was to repeal and re-enact almost all our petroleum laws into a holistic legislation. Because of its sheer size and complexity, the Bill was difficult to consider by the legislative committees in both chambers.
“The implications of the delay in concluding the oil and gas industry reform which commenced since the year 2000 has been very colossal for our country running into several billions of dollars that would have accrued to Nigeria and our economy coupled with the loss of our erstwhile continental competitiveness.”
He said that the industry was no longer efficient, adding that even the government recognized that the industry could no longer meet its aspirations and those of key stakeholders.
The Bills which were considered are the Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and the Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Bill.
According to him, “You are all aware that the oil and gas industry reform have been a critical issue before the House of Representatives since 2009 when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was first transmitted to this House as an Executive Bill for legislative consideration.
“The major reason for the reform, which remains even more valid today, is that the petroleum industry in Nigeria is not operating at standards and levels of efficiency expected of a twenty first century oil and gas industry.
The Speaker stressed that the Bills would enable Nigeria to operate at standards and levels of efficiency expected of a twenty first century oil and gas industry.
He added, “Today’s event is in keeping with our covenant with Nigerians to lay to rest this difficult but surmountable challenge that has been the bent of our oil and gas industry.
“To ensure a thorough and expedited conclusion of the reform, this House decided to split the reform Bills into logical smaller Bills. This way, the individual Bills can be expeditiously considered and passed one after the other.”
The reform Bills were split into the following Bills, namely:
(i) Petroleum Industry Governance Bill 2017
(ii) Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill 2018;
(iii) Petroleum Producing Host and Impacted Communities Bill, 2018; and
(iv) Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, 2018.
The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, 2017 has been passed by both the House and Senate and is now before the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for assent.
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