By Kingsley Okoye
Abuja,Oct.20,2020 The Senate on Tuesday at plenary passed for second reading the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The passing of the bill for second reading followed an intensive debate on the intents and purpose of the bill.
Naija247news recalls that the PIB has been pending before the National Assembly since 2007.
The PIB was sponsored for passage in 2007 and 2011 in the 6th and 7th Assembly, respectively.
In the 8th Assembly, the legislature sponsored the bill, breaking it down to about three parts, passed, but not assented to.
Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, Senate Majority leader, Abdullahi Yayaya (APC Kebbi), said the objectives of the PIB was to create efficient and effective governing institutions for creation of a commercially oriented and profit-driven national petroleum company.
He said the bill was designed to promote the exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources in Nigeria for the benefit of the Nigerian people.
Yayaya noted that when passed, the bill would promote competitive and liberalise the downstream petroleum industry.
He said the bill seeks to promote processing of petroleum within Nigeria and the development of fuel and chemical industry.
“The bill will create a conducive business environment for operations in the petroleum industry that enhances peaceful and harmonious co-existence between licensees and host communities.”
He said the bill was designed to also confer direct social and economic benefits from petroleum operations on host communities, among other benefits.
He said the PIB was divided into five chapters, each of which was further divided into parts.
“Chapter One deals with governance and institutions, while Chapter Two deals with administration of upstream, midstream and downstream.
“Chapter Three deals with host communities development, while Chapter Four provides for Petroleum Industry Fiscal Framework.
“The last chapter, Chapter Five covers miscellaneous provisions.”
The bill after it passed second reading was referred to Joint Committees on Petroleum Downstream, Upstream and Gas.
The Committee is to ensure further legislative inputs on the PIB and report back to plenary in eight weeks.
President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks on the bill, thanked the senators for taking time to debate the second reading of the bill.
He said the PIB should receive the same treatment like the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) amendment bill, noting that the passing of the PSC remained the legacy of the National Assembly.
He urged the Senate to also make the PIB its legacy by passing it with determination and focus.
“And because we have adopted a new approach as a result of the experiences in the past.
“It is looking possible that this bill will be passed after a serious scrutiny and consideration by the National Assembly, and the President will assent to the bill .
“I want to use this opportunity to encourage investors in the sector to come and stay.”
Lawan said there was need for the committees to work on the bill to produce a balanced document,noting that the committee would be given enough time to interface with stakeholders.
Senate, thereafter, suspended plenary and adjourned to Nov. 24 to enable Ministries, Agencies and Departments defend their 2021 budget proposals before committees.