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Senators Take Ownership of PIB Submission Process

By on May 24, 2012

The upper Chamber of the House of Assembly has taken conclusive steps to present a harmonized version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), after several delays by the Presidency in presenting its own harmonized version.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Downstream, Magnus Abe disclosed to journalists yesterday that there is a group of Senators working round the clock to finalize work on the bill and present it as a private initiative to the Senate.

Abe said the Senators felt the effort was necessary due to the industry vacuum the absence of the bill had created which was harmful to the economy.

Earlier this week, the minister of Petroleum Diezani Madueke said Oil Renewal licenses would be provided to oil majors in the country. This is to take place in June, in the absence of the PIB and could cost the country untold sums of money since it would be happening under the old regime.

Speaking on the work of the Senators, Abe said, “I have asked my staff, I have also consulted some of my colleagues, and we have decided that we are going to look at one of the old versions that had been submitted before and submit it as a private member bill and kick start the process.

“At any time the Executive feels the need to bring what they have, they can bring it and we can add it to what we are already looking at and proceed from there. Legislation, as you know, is a function of the legislature and not an Executive function; so, it doesn’t make sense for us as a country to keep waiting indefinitely on the Executive before we proceed with what is clearly a very critical area of legislation in the affairs of our country.”

He added, “As you know, because of this lack of a knowledgeable way forward on the question of the PIB, it has affected investment in the sector, it has affected confidence in the sector because people don’t know whether we are still going to be operating under the old Petroleum Act or whether we are now going to operate the new industry bill.

“Since this is an industry that requires long-term planning and investment, it is difficult for participants to know exactly what to do and to move forward. So, we have decided that we can no longer allow that state of uncertainty to continue to permeate the industry. Therefore, our members of staff are already looking at the existing versions of the PIB. I don’t see much that is wrong with them, and very soon, we will be introducing the PIB in the Senate.”