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National Assembly moves to pass PIB before December

By on September 12, 2014

There are fresh hopes that the troubled Petroleum Industry Bill may eventually be passed by both chambers of the National Assembly before the end of this year.

Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry are full of expectations that the bill will this time around be given accelerated consideration and subsequently passed into law when the legislators reconvene next Tuesday after their seven-week annual recess, which began on July 26, 2014.

The National Assembly ad-hoc committee on the PIB, our correspondent learnt, would be charting a new course for the proposed legislation on Tuesday.

The move is targeted at realising the aspiration of the legislators and other stakeholders to see to the passage of the bill before the end of this year.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Mr. Dakuku Peterside, told our correspondent on the telephone on Tuesday that the fate of the bill would be known after the meeting of the ad-hoc committee on Tuesday.

The outcome of the meeting, he noted, would inform subsequent actions as far as the PIB was concerned.

Peterside had earlier restated the resolve of the National Assembly to pass the lingering bill before the end of the year, saying it had passed first and second reading in the House.

He had said, “Nigeria’s oil and gas sector is almost in transition to another phase, which is the post-PIB phase. In the next one year, we expect to have a new legal framework governed by the PIB.

“The need to reposition all the agencies of government in the oil and gas sector is imperative otherwise the country will suffer a new crisis of how to manage new ways of doing things as prescribed by the PIB.”

Phone calls and text messages put through to the mobile lines of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Emmanuel Paulker, and his Downstream counterpart, Senator Magnus Abe, were not responded to as of the time of filing this report.

When contacted, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator, Abaribe Eyinnaya, directed one of our correspondents to the chairmen of the two committees, adding that he could not speak on their behalf.

However, our correspondents recalled that Abe and the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, had in separate interviews granted shortly before the upper chamber went on recess in July, assured Nigerians that the PIB would be passed by the current National Assembly before its dissolution in 2015.

Abe had said that “the Senate was committed to the passage of the PIB as soon as possible because it is critical to solving the various problems confronting the petroleum sector.”

Also, Ndoma-Egba, who is also a member of the Upstream committee, said, “The PIB is one of the bills that will be given accelerated hearing when the Senate resumes because it is capable of solving the crisis in the sub-sector when passed into law.”